Bellaire - Meyerland - West University Edition | March 2021

BELLAIRE MEYERLAND WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 11  MARCH 431, 2021

ONLINE AT

Electric shock: Winter event sends shivers through Texas grid

IMPACTS

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TODO LIST

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Newvoting machines on deck forMay 1

February’s historic winter storm has precipitated a political reckoning over the state’s power grid. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

“For some reason or another we kept power the entire time,” he said. After hearing others in the area were struggling to keep phones charged, he took an extra power strip, set up a table outside his home and posted on his

neighborhood Facebook page that any- one could plug in for a quick phone or laptop charge. “Why not share it? It took me all of twominutes to bring it out and plug it in

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ & MATT DULIN

When the lights went out around his Rice Military-area neighborhood during the freezing temperatures, Joe Khalaf was one of the lucky ones whose power did not go out.

ELECTION

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CAMP GUIDE LOCAL SUMMER CAMPS 12 2021

CONTINUED ON 16

Ion looks to scale up as advocates press on BY HUNTER MARROW

A STARTING POINT The Ion, which is nearing completion, will expand eorts to advance Houston’s standing as a center of innovation.

on a journey to learn coding and pro- gramming, eventually gaining years of experience working as a software engi- neer. His next passion was to develop an app that could connect nonprots or individuals with needs to locally available resources on the ground. Today, the app is reality, and Thomas is a founder and CEO, thanks to an accelerator program hosted by The Ion, Houston’s latest eort to create a space for breakthrough technology companies and nurture a competitive CONTINUED ON 18

Just over ve years ago, Ryan-Al- exander Thomas was a music teacher and band director at Houston’s St. Theresa Catholic School who wanted to help his students. “I toldmyself, ‘I’ll make some online videos, these online lesson plans kids can take home,’” Thomas said. “It just kept leading to scale. And when I started looking at how you can scale any initiative, technology is really that catalyst that allows for that scale.” That realization pushed Thomas

investment in The Ion building $100M

square feet of oce, academic, restaurant and event space 266,000

startup business accelerators

VIVALDI MUSIC ACADEMY

SOURCE: RICE MANAGEMENT CO. COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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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

FROMKRISTINA: As families look to restore a sense of normalcy, our annual Summer Camp Guide (Page 12) oers a look at what is available for school age children both in- person and virtually. We know that you can choose where and how you consume your news, and I want to personally thank you for being a loyal reader during challenging times. Kristina Shackelford, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMMATT: Texas has had more than its fair share of climate-related calamities, though many have said February’s freeze and the resulting power outage was also a man-made disaster exposing faults in our system. We explored the immediate aftermath of the freeze in this month’s cover story. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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IMPACTS

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN & HUNTER MARROW

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

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Bao Shi Yi

The former benjy’s restaurant is now Local Foods Market. FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Local Foods Market , a new concept by Benji Levit, opened Feb. 26, taking over the former benjy’s restaurant space in Rice Village at 2424 Dunstan Road, Houston. The new concept oers counter service and grab- and-go meals as well as a boutique grocery marketplace with goods from local suppliers and a selection of organic, hard-to-nd wines. The newly redesigned, 4,500-square- foot, two-story space includes an expanded covered patio for up to 50 guests, new built-in booths, 1940s-inspired light xtures and heritage pieces from Levit’s grandfather’s grocery store in Florida. The market also features a coee bar and wine on tap. The existing Local Foods restaurant space next door, meanwhile, closed to dine-in service for about a month starting Feb. 15 while it undergoes a refresh. 713-522-7602 www.localfoodsmkt.com COURTESY LOCAL FOODS MARKET

W. HOLCOMBE BLVD.

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Diesel Barbershop

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

COURTESY DIESEL BARBERSHOP

NOWOPEN 1 Bao Shi Yi , a modern Chinese restau- rant chain oering healthy breakfast and fresh, homemade drinks, opened its Texas Medical Center location at 2328 W. Holcombe Blvd., Houston, in early Febru- ary. In addition to its signature drinks, the eatery serves buns, dumplings, potstick- ers, wraps, bowls and noodles. The chain now has four locations in the Greater 2 Citadel BBQ , which pays homage to small-town, Southern barbecue joints with Texas-style oerings, opened at the Texas Medical Center at 6601 Main St., Houston, on Jan. 13, bringing smoked meats, sandwiches, breakfast loaded baked potatoes, and Southern sides and desserts as well as cold beer and cock- Houston area. 346-867-3941. www.baoshiyibunhouse.com 3 Diesel Barbershop , a modern-day version of a vintage-style barbershop where customers can watch sports, play video games, listen to music, and enjoy a cold beverage while getting a haircut, reopened to the public Jan. 16 at its West tails. 346-444-3227. www.citadelbbq.com

University-area location at 3351 Westpark Drive, Houston. The barber shop will host an event from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16 oering free haircuts for children with

will oer its chef-driven menu, featuring bone-in chicken wings, in a fast-casual atmosphere adjacent to The Ion. Opening dates have not been announced. www.ionhouston.com 6 Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryother- apy is coming to the West University area with a new location set to open in the spring at 2715 Bissonnet St., Houston. Restore will oer a broad range of ser- vices, including whole body cryotherapy, intravenous drip therapy, red light thera- py, cryo skin slimming, toning and facials, Stretch+, mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy, compression therapy and HydraFacial. www.restore.com IN THE NEWS 7 Bellaire-based food rescue nonprot Second Servings saved close to 1,000 pounds of food and other items from the Randalls store at 5130 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, that closed Feb. 20 after a liquidation sale. All collected items were donated to Mission Centers of Houston, a nonprot that provides food assistance to over 30,000 people a year. www.secondservingshouston.org

special needs. 832-834-4344. www.dieselbarbershop.com COMING SOON

4 Float Baby , the rst-ever baby spa in the United States, oers essential water exercise and infant massage instruction and is tentatively set to open March 8 in the West University area at 3642 Univer- sity Blvd., Ste. 103, Houston. 832-819- 8380. www.oatbaby.com 5 Three local restaurants are slated for an early summer opening in The Ion at 4201 Main St., Houston, and in the surrounding innovation district. Late August , a new concept by chefs Chris Williams and Dawn Burrell, will join the rst brick-and-mortar location for STUFF’d Wings as well as the on-the-go bistro and bakery Common Bond . Late August will pay homage to The Ion’s past as a former Sears building by tying into the department store’s catalog, annually released in late August. STUFF’d Wings

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

TODO LIST

March-April events

COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW

FARMERSMARKETS As warmer weather arrives, check out these local farmers markets oering goods from local artisans and producers. RICE VILLAGE FARMERS MARKET First and third Sundays of every month, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2504 Amherst St., Houston www.rice-village.com

PRELUDE CONCERT SERIES LEVY PARK

MARCH 13

BEGINNING MARCH 1

RICE PUBLIC ART RICE UNIVERSITY

BEGINNING MARCH6

PREHISTORICBEASTS HOUSTON ZOO

MARCH 10 CONVERSATIONSWITH LATINX ENTREPRENEURS General Assembly, a website oering training in tech, data, design, business and more, will host a virtual panel discussion with Houston leaders as they share stories about their heritage, failures and success. Panelists will include Lina Mateus Forero, founder & CEO of Digi-Clicks & Simply Mom To Be; Alex Moreno, partner success manager of The Ion; and Luciana Alvear, CEO of TechKnowBot. 6-7 p.m. Free. The Evelyn Rubenstein Community Center is hosting the 17th Annual Houston Jewish Film Festival, which shines a spotlight on Jewish and Israeli culture, art and history. All lms are viewable through the community center’s online platform within the set viewing window listed with the lm from 7 a.m. on the rst day through 11:59 p.m. on the last day. Select lms also include a Q&A with the director. Access to three lms costs $25. www.erjcchouston.org 11 ‘DUSKNIGHT DAWN: NOTES ON COURAGE’ Brazos Bookstore will host a virtual webinar where participants will get the opportunity to chat with Anne Lamott, author of “Dusk Night Dawn,” which explores issues of life and faith by breaking them down into digestible questions for readers to ponder. The rst 150 tickets sold will include a signed copy of the book. 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. 713-523-0701. www.brazosbookstore.com 12 VIRTUAL HOT PILATES Evelyn’s Park oers a virtual high-intensity interval training workout all from the comfort of your own home. www.generalassemb.ly THROUGHMARCH 11 17THANNUAL HOUSTON JEWISH FILMFESTIVAL “Power Flower” is a new immersive large-scale installation of brightly colored, cut and painted organic forms at Rice University’s M.D. Anderson Biology Building. It is open to visitors as part of the university’s public art initiative. Free; paid visitor parking is available on the Rice campus. 6100 Main St., Houston. 713-348-2787. https://moody.rice.edu

Participants can expect an hourlong, full-body workout designed to strengthen muscles, increase exibility, and improve overall health. The class is little to no impact and is safe for all ages and skill levels. Participants only need a yoga mat and water. Free to attend via Facebook Live link. 5 p.m. www.evelynspark.org 18 SISTERHOOD JUDAISM THROUGH THE ARTS Congregation Emanu El is hosting a virtual Judaism Through the Arts program as it explores the Art Nouveau ornamental style that ourished between 1890 and 1910. Museum of Fine Arts Houston curators will present the Art Nouveau aspects of a Gustav Klimt-inspired painting by Hermen Camarasa and stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiany. 1-2 p.m. Free (registration required). 713-529-5771. www.emanuelhouston.org 20 MEET THE ANIMALS The Hana and Arthur Ginzbarg Nature Discovery Center oers an interactive session aimed at giving participants an in-depth introduction to reptiles, including their behavior and ecology. To ensure better social distancing, sessions are limited to 10 participants. Advance registration is required. 1-1:45 p.m. $5. 7112 Newcastle St., Bellaire. www.naturediscoverycenter.org 20 RUNHOUSTON! MINUTEMAID PARK Registration is open for the virtual portion of the race, which is open to participants of all ages. The race is part of the Run Houston! series created to showcase unique venues throughout the Houston area. Each race in the series features a family-friendly atmosphere and oers a 5K and 10K, as well as a 1K run for children. $30 before 11:59 p.m. March 7. www.runhouston.com Houston Zoo will unveil “Prehistoric Beasts,” an exhibit of animatronic predators and their real, modern-day descendants, on view through Sept. 6. Animals include an 8-foot-tall Terror Bird, a sabertooth tiger with 11-inch- long canines, T-Rex’s larger cousin the Gigantosaurus and more. $29.95 (adult), $25.95 (child). 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. 713-533-6500. www.houstonzoo.org

APRIL 10 KEEP HOUSTON BEAUTIFUL DAY Keep Houston Beautiful, the city’s leading organization in beautication, litter reduction and recycling education, will host the 2021 iteration of Keep Houston Beautiful Day, dedicated to removing litter and debris from neighborhoods and parks, sprucing up community gardens, planting trees and general beautication eorts. Groups of 20 or fewer per location or individuals are welcome to register. Deadline to register The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts its rst exhibition devoted exclusively to internationally celebrated Cuban American artist Carmen Herrera, who turned 105 in May. The exhibition, “Carmen Herrera: Structuring Surfaces,” showcases more than 30 works from the 1960s to the present, including paintings, drawings, prints, wall structures and objects. Price included with general admission tickets. 1001 Bissonnet St., Houston. www.mfah.org THROUGHAUGUST ‘POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION’ The Houston Museum of Natural Science hosts “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” which explores the lives of residents of Pompeii before and after the catastrophic is March 26. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. www.houstonbeautiful.org THROUGHAPRIL 25 STRUCTURING SURFACES eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. Visitors go back in time to when Pompeii bustled as a commercial port and strategic military and trading city through a media-rich, object-based, immersive experience. Adult tickets $30 (nonmembers), $15 (members); children $21 (nonmembers), $15 (members). 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. 713-639-4629. www.hmns.org Levy Park hosts the Prelude Concert Series, a 45-minute music experience geared toward babies, toddlers and preschoolers as well as grownups. The performances come from the Prelude Music Classes for Children’s curriculum, which focuses on creativity, self-expression and development. 4:30 p.m. Free. 3801 Eastside St., Houston. www.levyparkhouston.org

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BELLAIRE OPEN AIR MARKET Last Sunday of every month, noon-4 p.m. Evelyn’s Park, 4400 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire www.evelynspark.org

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BRAESWOOD FARMERS MARKET Check Facebook page for weekly markets, including two new locations: A 5130 Bellaire Blvd, Houston B 8620 Stella Link Rd, Houston www.facebook.com/braeswood farmersmarket

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URBAN HARVEST FARMERS MARKET Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon 2752 Bualo Speedway, Houston www.urbanharvest.org/ farmers-market

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Find more or submit local 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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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW

ONGOING PROJECTS

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West Bellfort Avenue panel replacement

Stella Link bridge As part of Project Brays, a con- struction project on the Stella Link Road bridge over Brays Bayou has been substantially completed, with 20-foot-high walls with handrails at the southern edge of the bridge that extend more than 450 feet upstream and over 150 feet down- stream. Some concrete work along the channel still must be completed before the project is considered officially finished. Timeline: fall 2019-March 2021 Cost: $7.9 million Funding source: US Army Corps of Engineers, HCFCD

Hillcroft Avenue bridge The final items for the completion of the Hillcroft Avenue bridge raising project over Brays Bayou include new traffic signals, the removal of the existing signals and finishing the sidewalks at the intersections. The city of Houston has approved turning on the new signals, with work set to be completed over the next couple of months. Hillcroft is one of several bridge efforts for Project Brays. Timeline: TBD Cost: $3.3 million Funding source: US Army Corps of Engineers, Harris County Flood Control District

Linden Street alleyway change order Bellaire has hired ARKK Engineers to conduct design work for a new water line and pavement work in the alleyway north of Linden Street between Ferris Street and Fifth Street. Over the last three years, at least two water main breaks have occurred in the alley, which is used by residents and businesses. The change order adds to a Bonds for Bellaire 2016 Group A Phase 3 water line project, which will be ready to bid in a matter of weeks. Timeline: summer 2021-TBD Cost: $37,890 (design services) Funding source: Bonds for Better Bellaire

Contractors are replacing panels along West Bellfort Avenue near South Post Oak Road as part of a Houston City Council District K service fund project. Groundbreaking on the project kicked off near the end of February. Panel replacement is a street maintenance measure. Timeline: late February-mid-March Cost: $80,000 Funding sources: Houston City Council District K service funds, Houston Ded- icated Drainage and Street Renewal Fund, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County general mobility fund

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 1. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BMWNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

ELECTION Harris County purchases 12,000 newhybrid votingmachines

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

& Software are the only two voting equipment companies certified by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. The county vetted both options before it selected Hart InterCivic Inc., an Austin-based company that designs and manufactures its voting machines in Texas. The newmachines differ from those previously used in Harris County in that they feature a digital touch screen as well as a paper copy of the voter’s selections that the voter can verify before submitting the ballot into a secure, on-site ballot box, Longoria said. She said the new systemwill provide more security for voters through the collection of paper ballots and triple data backup that allows for easier election audit tracking. The machines will also offer more accessibility for voters, Longoria said, as they feature Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible controls and screen toggling features.“My commitment to Harris County voters

VERIFYING Harris County’s new Hart InterCivic Inc. Verity Voting Systems aim to enhance voter security and accessibility by offering the following features. THE VOTE

Harris County residents who vote in the upcoming May 1 elections will be the first to use the county’s new voting machines, known as Hart InterCivic Inc. Verity Voting Systems, which will offer paper backup copies of submitted ballots. On Jan. 26, with an expenditure of $54 million, the Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously authorized the purchase of 12,000 newmachines and entered into a one- year contract agreement with Hart InterCivic Inc. that will be in effect until Jan. 25, 2022. The agreement also includes 11 one-year renewal options. According to Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria, the county has been working to purchase new voting machines since fall 2019 with the goal of implementing a new system by May 2021. According to Longoria, Hart InterCivic Inc. and Election Systems

Paper copy of voter selections to be reviewed before submission Americans with Disabilities Act- accessible controls and screen toggling features

Digital touch screen

Triple data backup to allow for easier election audit tracking

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR’S OFFICE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

is to provide an open, transparent and accountable voting process— moving to the Hart InterCivic Verity Voting System does just that by giving voters a more accessible, secure and verifiable ballot to improve the voting experience for all Harris County voters,” Longoria said in a statement. The systemmade its Texas debut in the Nov. 5, 2019 elections across six counties. It will see its first use in

Harris County for the May 1 elections. According to a Jan. 26 news release from the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office, the first 2,300 machines will be delivered to Harris County by March 1. Harris County, the largest voting jurisdiction in the state, is one of nearly a dozen Texas counties to purchase voting machines from Hart InterCivic Inc. since the beginning of 2021.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Houston ISD

HIGHLIGHTS March 1 The district resumed in- person learning after shutting down Feb. 15-19 amid the winter storm. Virtual learning resumed Feb. 24, and teachers were asked to return to campus no later than Feb. 25. Feb. 11 The board approved a budget amendment including $41 million in new COVID-19 expenses, half of which is for student and teacher devices. The district is working to secure $27.6 million in federal relief and reimbursements. performance as a part of this year’s teacher evaluations, because of the disruption to standardized tests. Educator ratings will be calculated based on 70% instructional practice and 30% professional expectations. Feb. 11 Trustees approved a measure to remove student support to encourage participation and representation. “This item does not silence student voices; it actually elevates,” interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. Trustees were not convinced, however, that cutting ties was the right approach.

The Houston ISD board of education will next meet at 5 p.m. March 11. Meetings are streamed live on Facebook and at www.houstonisd.org MEETINGSWE COVER Spring break holiday in Houston ISD March 15-19 NUMBER TOKNOW The year Student by Zaakir Tameez, a Carnegie Vanguard High School student, and Amy Fan, a Bellaire High School student, and earned unanimous formal recognition by the Houston ISD board 2014 DATES TOKNOW Congress was founded “I find in our existing regulations ... the foundations to help our existing student groups succeed,” trustee Anne Sung said. “Given the passion and the leadership of the Student Congress members that came and spoke today, I’d really like to see us try to support them.”

Trustees postpone decision on replacing Student Congress

BY MATT DULIN

membership and posed problems for HISD administration. “Amy and Zaakir did amazing things at HISD,” said David Dzul, a Debakey High School student. “But the same organization they created doesn’t exist today.” Other student members told Community Impact Newspaper the district’s move was disappointing. “We’ve been really excited ... and wanted to recruit to get as many new students as we can. ... And then they just hit us with this,” said Yesenia Gaspar, 16, a junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School and member of the Student Congress’ leadership team. Under HISD’s proposal, Student Congress could continue to exist without formal recognition by the board and would create a student advisory council with district-super- vised elections, transportation and

THE MADNESS IS COMING... ARE YOU READY? disputes, prompting its founders, Amy Fan and Zaakir Tameez, to become more involved last year. Their involvement, however, also spurred further division among its HOUSTON ISD Trustees could revisit a proposal later this summer to cut ties with the Student Congress, a body it helped establish in 2014, asking the district to seek additional solutions to repair the strained organization and ensure adequate representation of student voices. In the 8-1 vote to postpone Feb. 11, trustees asked for the item to return for a vote no later than the August board meeting. Administrators said they have been unable to develop a working relationship with the Student Congress, which has experienced significant disruptions since last year amid the pandemic and internal

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

CITY& COUNTY

News from Bellaire, West University Place, Houston & Harris County

Fournace Place district gets P&Z nod

Parking lot restraining order extended

BY HUNTER MARROW

BY HUNTER MARROW

previously refused a request to allow the lot, which the city approved in error, to remain in place. Under the restraining order, the city cannot demolish the parking lot, nor can it fine MM Bellaire One for failing to do so. The order expires April 15 unless it is renewed again.

hearing and vote has not been set. “Throughout this process, we have listened to and heard from hundreds of people and we have read and considered carefully all of the written comments submitted after the public hearing last month,” P&Z Chair Ross Gordon said.

BELLAIRE During its Feb. 11 meet- ing, the Bellaire Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council approve a new zoning district at 4800 Fournace Place. City Council will have final approval of the North Bellaire Special Development District, which would allow for a range of uses, each of which would be subject to planned development permits. The date for a

BELLAIRE On Feb. 26, Harris County District Court Judge Donna Roth has extended a temporary restraining order blocking the demolition of a parking lot. A hearing in the case has been set for April 12. MM Bellaire One LLC, the developers for Southside Commons, filed suit in December after the city ordered the demo- lition of the parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire. City Council be elected as council members. The city will not hold a runoff election. Under the West University Place city charter, no person can serve as mayor or as a council member for more than three successive two-year terms. The last day for residents to regis- ter to vote is April 1. Early voting will run April 19-27. The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is April 20.

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12 candidates file forWest U council positions

Candidates running

Mayor Susan Sample Kevin Trautner City Council Mathew Mapram Melanie Bell Rich Beck John P. Barnes*

John Mont- gomery Sam Parikh Mardi Turner Shannon Carroll Lauri Lankford* Ed Sobash*

BY HUNTER MARROW

City voters may vote for no more than one candidate for mayor and for no more than four candidates for council members, City Secretary Thelma Gilliam said. The mayor will be selected based on who receives the greatest number of votes. For City Council, the top four vote-getters will

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE For the upcoming May 1 general election, the city of West University Place has two candidates running for mayor and 10 candidates running for four City Council positions, according to filings with the city secretary.

*INCUMBENT

ready for life. ready for college. At Marine Mi l i tary Academy, we are more than a college preparatory school - we are forging tomorrow’ s leaders. Thi s summer, your son can experi ence what MMA has to offer during 4 weeks of Summer Camp from June 26 - July 24. Your son wi ll learn valuable leadership ski lls, l i fe ski lls and make fri ends whi le part icipat ing in strength and adventure act ivi t i es des igned to bui ld conf idence and character. Scan the QR code to learn more about 2021 Summer Camp at MMA. » » Attend a Free Local Info Session to Learn More Thursday, April 8 @7:00 pm Houston Marriott West Loop Galleria 1750 West Loop South - 713.960.0111 MARINE MILITARY ACADEMY SOURCE: CITY OF WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Houston backs 17 proposals for affordable housing tax credits

Proposed affordable developments

These are the developments submitted by the city of Houston to the state of Texas for consideration for a 9% affordable housing tax credit. Some, but not all, of the proposals will be approved by the state in July.

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BY EMMA WHALEN

consideration. District G Council Mem- ber Greg Travis, who represents much of West Houston, seconded Knox’s idea; however, the remaining council members blocked the effort. For one, Knox requested a discus- sion of a development at 909 Fisher St., Houston, in the Garden Oaks neighborhood just northwest of Loop 610. During public comment, some voiced concerns about flooding, school crowding and the size of the lot. “This location is a funky trapezoid, 1-acre lot, and I cannot see how it would fit the building or the parking needed,” resident Callie Ritter said. “We’re all for the idea of affordable housing, but this location is not the best location.” Others supported the project. “Red-lining was banned 50 years

FEMAvaccine site serves 6,000per day fromhigh-risk ZIPs HOUSTON On Feb. 24, City Council approved seeking state tax credits for 17 proposed affordable housing developments throughout the city. The proposals are selected through an annual application process and in accordance with scoring criteria created by the Houston Housing and Community Development Department and are then submitted to the state of Texas. In July, state housing officials will approve fewer than half of the proposals to receive a 9% tax credit reserved specifically for affordable developments. The item passed with little discus- sion despite an effort by At-Large Council Member Mike Knox to separate out two of the proposed developments on the list for further

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ago, and yet it is still hurting our minorities today,” Sabrina Norman said, referring to racially discrimina- tory practices in mortgage lending and city planning. “So I am asking ... for support of the Fisher Street

Apartments.” In response to potential Civil Rights Act violations, Houston debuted a new scoring matrix in 2020 for proposals, resulting in a broader distribution of projects.

Council OKs brief grace period for overdue rent

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BY EMMA WHALEN

he previously opposed, to allow time to coordinate a $159 million rent relief programwith Harris County. “I do not think people ought to be evicted while these dollars are coming ... because the dollars are there,” he said. Bellaire City Council meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. at 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire. Meetings are streamed at www.bellairetx.gov. West University Place City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 3800 University Blvd., Houston. Meetings are available via teleconference. Find details at www.westutx.gov. Houston City Council meets weekly at 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays for public comment and 9 a.m. Wednesdays for regular business at 901 Bagby St., Houston. Meetings are streamed at www.houstontx.gov/htv. Harris County Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m. March 9. Live meeting video is available at www.harriscountytx.gov. MEETINGSWE COVER

HOUSTON City Council voted Feb. 17 to approve a grace period ordinance extending the amount of time renters have to resolve payment issues to March 31 before a landlord can pursue an eviction. The ordinance follows an existing Centers for Disease Control and Pre- vention eviction order. Renters qualify for protection if they sign a declara- tion stating they have tried to obtain government assistance; make less than $99,000 individually or $198,000 as a household; are unable to make full rent due to substantial loss of income; have made efforts to make full or partial payments; and would be rendered homeless if evicted. Without the ordinance, tenants would have three days to resolve a missed payment before landlords can file an eviction. Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city pursued the grace period, which

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BY EMMA WHALEN

Only those who meet state eligibility requirements will be able to receive vaccinations at the site. Those include residents over age 65 and those over age 16 with chronic health conditions. Officials from the Houston Health Department and the Harris County Department of Public Health will draw from their respective waitlists to schedule vaccine appointments at the FEMA site; however, appointments are being prioritized for those who live in “high-risk” ZIP codes—those determined by the county to have high case counts, death rates and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Hidalgo said the county waitlist has over 320,000 names. To sign up for the Harris County vaccine waitlist, call 832-927-8787 or visit https://publichealth.harris countytx.gov. To sign up for the city of Houston waitlist, call 832-393- 4301 or visit https://houston emergency.org/covid-19-vaccines.

HOUSTON The Federal Emer- gency Management Agency’s 11-lane drive-thru vaccine hub at NRG Stadium—one of four of its kind in the U.S.—launched Feb. 23 and is capable of vaccinating 6,000 residents per day, seven days a week, for six weeks. “Texas is still a hot spot, and Texas has not moved from being a hot spot,” said U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston, at the opening preview of the site Feb. 22. By the end of the six weeks, offi- cials plan to have fully inoculated 126,000 residents. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the county is working to ensure the site will continue running after that point. All doses administered at NRG Stadium will be in addition to the thousands of weekly doses offered by the Houston Health Department, Harris County Health Department and other providers to high-risk populations.

$159million

in rent relief allocated in a joint Houston-Harris County program that opened in February

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

C A M P G U I D E GUIDE

A noncomprehensive list of camps in the area

Parents looking for camps for their kids have a number of options to choose from in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University area, including virtual options for families looking to socially distance during the pandemic. This list is not comprehensive.

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5 Kids Robotic Academy This robotics- and STEM-focused camp has four skill levels teaching the concepts and skills in building simple to complex robots, with weekly sessions oering age-appropriate instruction catering to children from ages 3 to 9 and up. Dates: June 1-Aug. 20 Cost: $300-$450 per week 4007 Bellaire Blvd., Ste. KK, Houston 713-454-7004 www.kidsroboticacademy.com 6 Language Kids Classes provide young students a lan- guage immersion experience in person at several Houston locations or in a virtual format. Early immersion and extended hour options are available. Dates: June 1 to Aug. 13 (virtual camp), July 16-Aug. 6 (in person) Cost: varies by age level and class option Beren Academy 11333 Cliwood Drive, Houston 281-565-1388 www.languagekids.com 7 Camp Zoofari The Houston Zoo’s summer camp experi- ence allows children ages 4-14 to explore the zoo, meet animals and learn about wildlife. Each weekly camp oers a theme focused on a certain kind of wildlife or idea with age-appropriate activities. Dates: July 5-Aug. 13 Cost: $330-$500 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston 713-533-6739 www.houstonzoo.org MUSIC, ARTS &THEATER 8 Main Street Theater Main Street Theater hosts several camps options this summer, including a week- long virtual camp and in-person one-day camps, as well as full- and half-day, one- week and two-week sessions at diering skill and age levels, with some camps culminating in a stage performance livestreamed for family audiences. Camp options vary by location. Dates: June 14-Aug. 27 Cost: $70-$500 per camp A MST Rice Village: 2540 Times Blvd., Houston B Midtown Arts & Theater Center Hous- ton 3400 Main St., Houston 713-524-7998 www.mainstreettheater.com 9 Monart School of Art Camps will oer art instruction around a variety of mediums, with themes drawing inspiration from pop culture such as

ACADEMIC

1 CompuCamp The University of Houston-Downtown partners with local institutions to oer camps in computer programming, en- gineering, creative writing and foreign languages. A Summer Academy is also oered in the rst to fourth weeks, including ACT/SAT test prep, nancial lit- eracy and career discovery opportunities. Classes may vary by location. Ages 6-17. Dates: June 7-July 16 Cost: varies by camp A St. Thomas More Parish School: 5927 Wigton Drive, Houston B MD Anderson Cancer Center: 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston 713-221-8032 www.compucamp2021.com 2 Crossing Borders Camps catered to children with all levels of uency in English, Spanish, Mandarin and French will make language immer- sion fun and interesting, as well as age appropriate. Dates: TBA; specic schedules vary by topic/age group Cost: Call for pricing 2353 Rice Blvd., Houston 281-465-0899 www.crossingborderspreschool.com 3 Houston Museum of Natural Science The museum oers both virtual and in-person camps. The weeklong in-per- son day camps cover a wide variety of science-based topics with hands-on learning with distinguished teachers and activities. Virtual camp involves an hour of educational engagement every day for one week, live interaction with an educator and self-guided learning oppor- tunities supplemented with topic-specic supplies picked up at the museum. Dates: June 7-Aug. 13 (in-person), May 31-Aug. 13 (virtual) Cost: $265-$760 6001 Fannin St., Houston 713-639-4629 www.hmns.org/education/summer-camp 4 IDEA Lab Kids Classes will be held all summer in subjects including science, engineering, arts, 3D printing and drones, cooking, robotics, coding and programming, and mathematics. Dates: June 14-Aug. 27 Cost: $350 (full day), $200-$250 (half day) 5410 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire 832-993-1213 www.idealabkids.com

Camp Zoofari

Main Street Theater

COURTESY HOUSTON ZOO

COURTESY RICORNELPRODUCTIONS

Pokemon, “Stranger Things” and “The Mandalorian,” among other creative icons. After-hours care is available for an additional fee. Dates: May 31-Aug. 27 Cost: $210 to $420 per week 4007 Bellaire Blvd., Ste. F, Houston 713-218-0000 www.houstonmonart.com DAY CAMP 10 Camp J The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Communi- ty Center holds multiple camps options for ages 3 to 15 with a wide variety of ac- tivities and topics, including arts, sports, writing, technology, science and academ- ics. Check waitlists for availability. Dates: June 14-Aug. 13 Cost: $225-$1,400 depending on camp duration 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston 713-729-3200 www.erjcchouston.org 11 Camp Paseo Bellaire’s Parks and Recreation Depart- ment hosts weekly day camps with a variety of activities for children ages 5 to 12. Some activities will take place in the Bellaire Family Aquatic Center, city parks and the city library. Dates: June 1-Aug. 13 Cost: $120-$165 per week, depending on camp and residency status 7008 Fifth St., Bellaire 713-662-8280 https://www.bellairetx.gov/701/Camps 12 Kidventure This day camp program oers camps that are structured with age-appropriate ac- tivities to encourage creativity, physical activity, exploration and reection. Some camps also may include eld trips, special activities and community service. Camp West U and Camp Emanu El are for chil- dren entering rst through fth grade. Other Houston locations oer opportuni- ties for older children. Dates: June 14 to Aug. 13 (West U), June 1-Aug. 6 (Emanu El) Cost: $265-$325 per week

A Camp West U: 6104 Auden St., Houston B Camp Emanu El: 1500 Sunset Blvd., Houston 713-960-8989 www.kidventure.com 13 Pine Cove Mobile extension of the Christian camp will bring bungee trampolines, water slides, counselors, skits, Bible studies and more for rst through sixth graders. Registration opens March 16. Dates: July 26-30 Cost: $310 Crosspoint Church-Bellaire 4601 Bellaire Blvd., Houston 832-203-4300 www.pinecove.com/city/crosspoint 14 YMCA Youth Discovery The YMCA day camp experience oers games, sports, swimming, arts and crafts, educational activities and other activities to keep children ages 5-11 active and engaged. Dates: June 14-Aug. 13 Cost: $175-$215 per week Weekley Family YMCA 7101 Stella Link Blvd., Houston 713-664-9622 www.ymcahouston.org SPORTS 15 Houston Gymnastics Academy The Summer Blast Camp oers half-, full- and all-day sessions for ages 3-12. Campers stay active throughout the day with stretching, learning new skills, and having fun with trampolines and obstacle courses. Dates: June 1-Aug. 20 Cost: $200-$375 per week based on schedule and membership status 5201 Gulfton St., Houston 713-668-6001 www.houstongymnastics.com 16 Salle Mauro The fencing school holds summer ses- sions to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of the sport, training exer- cises and games for varying skill levels.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

2021

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN & HUNTER MARROW

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Dates: June 7-Aug. 20 Cost: $250 weekly 4007 Bellaire Blvd., Ste. EE, Houston 832-778-8745 www.sallemauro.com 17 The Club Baseball & Softball This camp oers coach-led training on hitting, throwing and elding. Dates: TBA Cost: call for pricing 8429 Stella Link Road, Houston 713-425-8144 www.theclubhtx.com

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • MARCH 2021

locations in Greater Houston

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A SONGOF SUCCESS

number of faculty 200300

3

years in a row on the Inc 5000 list

instruments with lesson options

8,000+

50,000+

Zoom lessons

online performances since pandemic began

The internationally known Suzuki method is used to teach musicians of all ages at Vivaldi Music Academy.

BUSINESS FEATURE

Piano is one of nine kinds of instrument lessons oered by the nearly 300 faculty members working with the school.

PHOTOS BY HUNTER MARROWCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Vivaldi Music Academy www.vivaldimusicacademy.com A 5305 Bissonnet St., Bellaire 832-404-2299 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Vivaldi Music Academy Private music school fosters creativity for all ages I t was 23 years ago when Vivaldi Music Academy founder and CEO Zeljko Pavlovic came to the Pavlovic decided to rectify that, opening the rst Vivaldi Music Academy in West University Place in BY HUNTER MARROW

with kids. To me, that was extremely important,” Pavlovic said. Nearly 300 faculty members with instrument-specic degrees teach musicians of all ages, from preschool through adulthood. Instrument les- sons span cello, drums, ute, clarinet, violin and voice. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, these teachers helped the academy shift to online and in-person classes and performances, allowing families to log in and connect with their children from anywhere in the world. “As a musician, to see a complete beginner come who has never touched an instrument and see themwithin a year play in a recital, that’s really beautiful,” Pavlovic said.

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2013. Eventually he left the sym- phony to focus his time and energy on the academy. In a year, enrollment ballooned to 400 students, and within three to four years, Vivaldi Music Academy boasted 2,000 students across four locations inWest Univer- sity, Bellaire, Memorial and Sugar Land. The school now bills itself as the largest private music academy in the United States, but Pavlovic emphasizes quality over quantity. “What really dierentiates us from somebody else is that our teachers are highly qualied, and not only that, they’re really good at working

United States, a refugee from his home country of Bosnia, bringing over 200 years of family history in music. Pavlovic played violin for the Houston Symphony for 13 years, but his desire to start a music school did not take hold until it was time for his son to begin taking lessons. “At that time, music academies were an afterthought,” Pavlovic said. “People would take lessons at the back of a guitar store or at the back of a retail store. So it was like they were in the background. And the quality was just not there.”

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