Conroe - Montgomery Edition | March 2021

CONROE MONTGOMERY EDITION

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 12  MARCH 19APRIL 15, 2021

ONLINE AT

DNA technology, public campaign target cold cases

The Energy Reliability Council of Texas oversees the state’s electric grid, which faced major issues during the February winter storm. Conroe, Montgomery and Willis fall outside the state grid and are mostly serviced by Entergy Texas, whose reliability coordinator is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. Off the Grid ERCOT • 4.3million Texans without power at 9 a.m. Feb. 16 • ERCOT board members resigned; CEO red • Under investigation by Texas Legislature

ERCOT MISO

BY EVA VIGH

For more than a decade, the case of who killed Danny Johnson has remained unsolved. Johnson, a 58-year-old man who lived in the Conroe area, was struck and killed by a pickup truck at 11:05 p.m. Jan. 11, 2011, while he was walking on Old Houston Road near Porter, accord- ing to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He had gone to a nearby house for dinner and had been walking back to his home, Danny Johnson’s niece, Alana Johnson, said in an interview. The driver of the pickup ed the scene. The DPS began working the case, examining the evidence and interviewing subjects. But interviews led to dead ends, and leads dried up, Alana Johnson said. Years later, his family still desperately seek answers. CONTINUED ON 20

Conroe, Montgomery and WIllis

MISO

• Nearly 60,000 Entergy customers in Montgomery County without power Feb. 15 • No apparent investigation into MISO • Lawsuit against Entergy has been led

SOURCE: ENERGY RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS, ENTERGY TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Entergyconductingpost-event review amidoutrageoverwinter stormoutages

BY EVA VIGH

Entergy Texas—an electric provider that serves most of the county and the Con- roe, Montgomery and Willis areas—were out of power Feb. 15, according to Entergy’s outage map. Some residents were out of power for days, and many experienced dam- ages fromburst pipes, includ- ing school districts, which reported up to $200,000 in

damages. Although scrutiny has been placed over the failure of the state’s electric grid during the storm, it is not clear if similar investigations will be taken for areas out- side the grid, including the area served by Entergy. Entergy is not part of the state grid that serves about CONTINUED ON 18

It was a weather event like never before in Texas. Winter storms hit the week of Valentine’s Day, blanketing Texas with snow, sleet and subzero tempera- tures for days as rolling out- ages plunged millions into darkness. In Montgomery County, nearly 60,000 customers of

Name: DANNY JOHNSON Age: 58 Death: JAN. 11, 2011 Case: Fatality

What we know: Johnson was walking on Old Houston Road at 11:05 p.m. when a light-colored pickup struck him and left the scene. Johnson was leaving a friend’s house.

SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETYCOMMUNITY IMPAC

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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

FROMCHRISSY: Last month we all experienced yet another historical event with the arrival of winter storm Uri. It was a beautiful and very uncommon sight in Texas to wake up and see everything covered in snow. The excitement soon wore o for many residents as reality set in with nearly 60,000 homes in Montgomery County without power or heat while temperatures dropped well below freezing. Our lead story looks into what happened with the state’s electric grid and the Entergy power failures. Chrissy Leggett, GENERALMANAGER

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.

FROMANNA: In one of our cover stories this month, Senior Reporter Eva Vigh dives into cases in Montgomery County that have now grown cold without answers. Flip to Page 20 to read how the county is cracking these cases open again and how you may be able to help bring answers for families. Anna Lotz, EDITOR

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

WHATWE COVER

Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive the latest headlines direct to your inbox. communityimpact.com/ newsletter DAILY INBOX Visit our website for free access to the latest news, photos and infographics about your community and nearby cities. communityimpact.com LIVE UPDATES

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION &DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

CITY & COUNTY GOVERNMENT We attend area meetings to keep you informed

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

IMPACTS

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

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metic esthetics, such as Botox and fillers. Owner Dr. Kenneth Wilgers has over 20 years of experience in various types of medicine and has been integrating bi- oidentical hormones, functional medicine and lifestyle medicine into the daily care of his patients. 936-510-3224 6 Brilliant Paws opened Jan. 4 at 9521 FM 1097 W. Ste. A, Willis. The locally owned business carries specialty pet foods, treats and pet supplies as well as offers full-service grooming and self- wash stations. In addition to a brick-and- mortar location, the online store offers same-day delivery service throughout Willis and Conroe. 936-666-5153. www.brilliantpawsonline.com 7 Speakeasy barbershop ManBasics opened at 4130 FM 1488, Ste. 106, Con- roe, in November, according to business co-owner Damon Henrichs. The business sells personal care products and features a full bar in addition to offering barber services such as straight-razor shaves and beard trims. 832-663-6552. www.facebook.com/manbasicsfm1488 8 Harvest Market opened at 2295 Woodforest Parkway, Montgomery, on Feb. 26. The two-level “grocerant” features a full dining experience and a grocery store with foods from around the world with a focus on healthy eating. It also features made-to-order food, a bar, curbside pickup, and indoor and out- door seating for dining. The market also includes a trolley—first established at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020—which provides a traveling grocery store with more than 600 brands to local neighborhoods and serves one family at a time; it is cleaned after each family. The trolley takes about 30 minutes to arrive when requested. 866-945-1108. www.hmgrocerant.com

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NOWOPEN 1 Breakroom Bagels opened at 202 Main St., Conroe, on March 2, according to business owner Ashley McIntyre. Operating as a food truck, the eatery offers East Coast-style bagels that have been boiled and baked. In addition to bagel sandwiches such as the break- fast-style bacon, egg and cheese, the eatery also offers flavored cream cheeses and snack options. 713-853-9327. https://breakroombagels.com 2 Sterling Ridge Orthopedics & Sports Medicine opened Feb. 1 at 750 Fish Creek Thoroughfare, Montgomery. Physicians and therapists help patients prevent or

4 Woodforest National Bank opened its newest branch located in the Wood- forest Development community at 895 Fish Creek Thoroughfare, Montgomery, according to a March 8 news release from Liz Grimm Public Relations. The branch is located inside the new Woodforest Na- tional Bank Building and offers full-ser- vice banking with a lobby, a drive-thru and ATM services. 936-538-1475. www.woodforest.com 5 Optimus Health , a wellness clinic, opened in early January at 15264 Hwy. 105 W., Ste. 150, Montgomery. The clinic offers services for women’s and men’s health; regenerative therapy; and cos-

treat an orthopedic injury or condition, and a neurologist is also on staff. Physical therapy includes aquatic and occupational therapy, and an on-site X-ray is available. The practice was founded in 2005, and there are two other locations in north Houston. 3 Asadero Tex Mex held a soft opening in early February at 721 W. Davis St., Con- roe. The restaurant serves items such as beef tapatillos, soft tacos, Philly chees- esteak and quesadillas. A DJ and karaoke are present during the weekends. 936-622-1100 936-272-0790. www.srosm.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY EVA VIGH

United’s church for the homeless, has resided in downtown Conroe since 2009. On March 2, the church moved out of downtown to 239 S. Main St., Conroe. This will be a temporary location until a new building is built, which should be by the end of July. The new building will be part of Miracle City, a campus that will house all of Compassion United’s programs. 936-274-3799. www.compassionunited.us EXPANSIONS Kailee’s Kakes , a business run by Mont- gomery ISD high school student Kailee Warren, recently began offering muffins and cookies in addition to its cakes and cupcakes. The online bakery was founded in July 2019 and offers homemade cakes and treats. www.facebook.com/kaileeskakes ANNIVERSARIES 11 Ruthie Grace Boutique celebrated 10 years of businesses Feb. 11. The women’s boutique offers a selection of women’s clothes as well as shoes, jewelry and oth- er accessories. Originally online, Ruthie Grace Boutique opened a brick-and-mor- tar location in early December located at 20165 Eva St., Ste. D, Montgomery. 936-703-5234. https://shopruthiegrace.com

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Brilliant Paws

COURTESY BRILLIANT PAWS

COMING SOON 9 Pinch A Penny Pool and Spa will be opening a new location at 4489 W. Davis St., Ste. 220, Conroe, in April. The franchise sells pool supplies including chlorine, tablets, pumps and filters. The Conroe location is in the process of hiring pool service technicians and store employees. 936-701-0926. www.pinchapenny.com Work will soon begin on a new full-service hotel , convention center and five-level parking garage to be owned by the city of Conroe and leased to a luxury hotel oper- ator. Completion of the 250-room prop- erty, to be built by the city, is expected by November 2022. The third-party operator and brand have yet to be disclosed. RELOCATIONS 10 Conroe House of Prayer , Compassion

The FermMeadery is now open in downtown Conroe.

COURTESY THE FERM MEADERY

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN The FermMeadery held a soft opening in March at 225 Simonton St. in downtown Conroe. The winery specializes in honey wine and mead and will produce a variety of styles and avors in its production area behind its tasting room at 225 Simonton St. Initially, Ferm Meadery will serve meads produced by other meaderies, but once the business gets its own product bottled in April, there will be

a grand opening. www.facebook.com/ thefermmeadery

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T he L iving L ast S upper Join us for Easter Sunday! April 4, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. Northside Baptist Church 701 N. FM 3083 West Conroe, TX 77303

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ

REGIONAL UPDATES 3 FM 2978 widening

ONGOING PROJECTS 1 FM 1097 widening

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The Texas Department of Transporta- tion project to widen FM 1097 between I-45 and Anderson Road in Willis is 74% complete as of March 5, according to the most recent data from TxDOT. The project, underway by Angel Brothers, widens the road from two to four lanes with a continuous left-turn lane. A second segment of the widening project—under- way by James Construction Group—is 3% complete as of Feb. 25. The second seg- ment spans FM 1097 from Lake Conroe Hills Drive to Anderson. Timeline: fourth quarter 2018-third quarter 2021 (Segment 1), first quarter 2021-third quarter 2021 (Segment 2) Cost: $15.71 million (Segment 1), $14.69 million (Segment 2) Funding sources: TxDOT, federal funds 2 FM 2090 bridge replacement A TxDOT project to replace bridges and the bridge approaches over Caney Creek on FM 2090 is underway in the Conroe area. The project was 60% complete as of March 5. Timeline: Jan. 6, 2020-first quarter 2022 Cost: $6.26 million Funding sources: TxDOT, federal funds

Just south of FM 1488, a project contin- ues that will widen FM 2978 from two to four lanes between FM 1488 and south of Dry Creek, located near Hardin Store Road. The project was 64% complete as of March 5 and anticipated to wrap up in the second quarter of 2021 after more than 2 1/2 years of construction. Timeline: Sept. 4, 2018-second quarter 2021 Cost: $21.47 million Funding sources: TxDOT, federal funds 4 Hwy. 242 overpass at FM 1314 The project will construct a grade separa- tion along Hwy. 242 from west to east of FM 1314. This is the first of four projects to construct an overpass at Hwy. 242 and FM 1314. The project was 79% complete as of March 5. Timeline: July 2018-fourth quarter 2021 Cost: $24.26 million Funding sources: TxDOT, federal funds

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 5. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT COMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

COMMUNITY Historic Black college in Conroe to become youth community center

BY EVA VIGH

“We had the same vision,” Stowe said. The goal is to transform the college to the Conroe Community Youth Development Center, which would include a football eld, a sports complex, a community garden and a kitchen for cooking classes, among others, LaDon said. The new center would be the headquarters of the Good Brothers and Sisters of Montgomery County as well as for Northside Lions of Montgomery County, a football program Stowe runs that works with youth athletes. “I’m just going to do real community work,” Johnson said. “I’m going to ... get things going.” The partners are in conversations with the property owner and are seeking donations from citizens as well as funding from the county and the city. There is no set timeline or projected costs yet, but LaDon said his goal would be $1 million.

For years, Conroe Normal and Indus- trial College, an all-Black college built in 1903, has sat empty on 10th Street. The college was once a prominent and well-respected institution, according to the Texas State Historical Association. But after struggling to survive the Great Depression, it saw its enrollment again decrease in the 1980s, and it eventually ceased classes. However, a recent partnership between a Black activist and a Conroe police ocer may help restore the college to a youth community center. LaDon Johnson, an activist with the Good Brothers and Sisters of Mont- gomery County, a nonprot seeking to advocate for the Black community, said he met Lt. Brent Stowe with the Conroe Police Department at a protest Johnson organized following the death of George Floyd. The two became friends and formed the idea of restoring the college.

Plans for the Conroe Normal and Industrial College include the addition of a football eld and community garden. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

I’M JUST GOING TODOREAL COMMUNITYWORK. I’MGOING TO ... GET THINGS GOING.”

LADON JOHNSON, ACTIVIST

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WANT TOHELP? To donate to the project, visit www.conroecommunityyouthdevelopmentcenter.com.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

AT THE CAPITOL State leaders talkprioritiesatMontgomeryCountyDayevent

LOCAL BILLS FILED Local elected officials have filed bills pertaining to guns, fraud prevention and hospital visitations.

BY EVA VIGH

20% of Texas households do not have it, especially in rural areas, according to a news release fromHegar. The pandemic has pushed this issue to the front of the agenda, and officials discussed it at the March 2 event. “We’re going to expand broadband access because [of] virtual schools; we need to make sure everyone has access and [for] telemedicine, which became big during COVID[-19],” Patrick said. Texas Education Agency Com- missioner Mike Morath said from the education side, the commission hopes to accomplish this in a three- step approach: securing as many devices as possible, identifying students who need to be served and then finding a solution to serving them, and identifying areas where commercially available internet services are not available and then finding a way to serve them. There are several funding opportu- nities on the table, but the Legislature will ultimately have to establish the framework for the funding, he said.

“Last May and June, as people were spending more time in and around their home doing home improvement projects, they were buying workout equipment and doing outdoor activities, and so ... we had a positive sales tax month last July,” he said. “We didn’t expect to have a positive sales tax month for about a year.” He added sales tax revenue was not as negative as anticipated, down on average 5% instead of 10% month to month. As the legislative session contin- ues, there is usually one issue that dominates the conversation in every legislative session, and this year it is efforts to reform the state’s electric grid, Patrick said. However, Gov. Greg Abbott also prioritized broadband expansion as one of his five emergency items for the 2021 session, he said in his State of the State address Feb. 1. Broad- band is an internet connection with sufficient speed. Yet, census data indicates nearly

State and local elected officials discussed their priorities for the legislative session at the Conroe Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce’s Montgomery County Day at the Capitol event on March 2. Due to the pandemic, the event was virtual, and speakers included Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick; state Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; state Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe; and Texas Comp- troller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar. Months before the 87th Texas Legislature convened Jan. 12, the state was anticipating a $5 billion-$6 billion shortfall, Creighton said. Now that number hovers at just over $1 billion as of early March, and officials are expressing optimism. “I’m not as concerned about our budget as I was six months ago,” Patrick said. Part of the reason is consumer spending during the pandemic and sales tax revenue are higher than anticipated, Hegar said.

SENATE BILL 866 Bill Filed by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe: Would require Lone Star Cards to include photo identification to receive benefits such as food stamps SENATE BILL 18 Bill Filed by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe: Would establish firearms and ammunition businesses as essential businesses that shall not be prohibited from operating during a disaster or emergency

HOUSE BILL 2211 Bill Filed by Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe:

Would disallow hospitals from prohibiting in-person visitation during a disaster unless federal law requires it

SOURCE: TEXAS LEGISLATURE ONLINE/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Conroe, Montgomery & Willis ISDs

School districts assessing damages following February’s historicwinter storms

BY EVA VIGH

were resolved prior to schools reopening. The total costs are expected to be more than $300,000. Willis ISD also reported damages totaling between $150,000- $200,000, WISD Director of Com- munications Jamie Fails said. The district had a “pretty signicant pipe burst” and ooding at Willis High School in the athletic wing that had to be repaired as well as some ventilation units that went out at several schools. Pipes were repaired at every cam- pus, but school resumed Feb. 22.

In Conroe ISD, York Junior High School was reported to have the most signicant damage, CISD Superintendent Curtis Null said in a Feb. 21 livestream. The district did not provide estimates of damage costs as of press time. “[We] had a water pipe [burst] in a locker room near a gym. And the gym oor—it’s a wood oor—so we’re going to need to do some work on that,” Null said. “It may take a few weeks to get that up and usable, but beyond that our build- ings should be up and running.”

CONROE, MONTGOMERY, WIL LIS ISDS Local school districts are assessing campuses’ damages caused by the winter storm the week of Feb. 14. As a result of outages and frigid temperatures, water pipes were more susceptible to bursting. Montgomery ISD experienced multiple issues across several district campuses and facilities, including pipe bursts, water dam- age and boiler issues, MISD Director of Communications Justin Marino said. He added many of the issues

COST INDAMAGES All three districts reported damages following the February storm due to burst pipes and other related issues. Montgomery ISD More than $300,000 Willis ISD $150,000-$200,000 Conroe ISD Did not provide data SOURCES: MONTGOMERY, CONROE, WILLIS ISDS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Conroe ISD continuesmask policy through 202021, plans for unrestricted fall semester

94%ofMontgomeryISDstudents enrolled in in-person learning

BY BEN THOMPSON

BY EVA VIGH

CONROE ISD Superintendent Curtis Null said in a March 9 video livestream Conroe ISD will keep its masking policy in place for the remainder of the current school year while the district looks to ramp up activities ahead of fully reopening with no restrictions for the 2021-22 school year. The district previously acknowledged it would be making no changes to its mask requirements after Gov. Greg Abbott’s rollback of the statewide face-covering mandate became eective March 10. “I know the impact that it would have if we have to close school again, not to men- tion the academic danger that it causes. We know those dangers as well,” Null said. “For us to sit here and say that we want to ignore all of that and we’re going to gamble the school year, that’s just not a gamble I’m willing to make.” While Null acknowledged the many community members on all sides of the masking debate had provided input on the move, Null said the decision mainly boiled down to the district’s proven track record in remaining open at all levels through the entirety of the 2020-21 school year so far with a mask requirement in place. Null also said the district’s use of masks has helped limit required quarantining and that a shift in policy could trigger a surge in absences, endangering continued in-person operations. Students and sta are forced to quarantine at home for at least 10 days if they are identied as a close contact of

MONTGOMERY ISD About 94% of Montgomery ISD stu- dents are now enrolled for in person learning, MISD Superin- tendent Heath Morrison said at a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 12. Although losing students who are not enrolled in person has been a challenge nationwide during the pandemic, Morri- son said the district has kept tabs on its students. “We know exactly where they are; they are choosing remote instruction,” he said. “Any student that was not accounted for we went out and did home visits.” Morrison also discussed the district’s goal to improve safety, including the social and emotional safety of students as well as physical. This is particularly critical for the dis- trict’s 26% of students that meet the federal denition of poverty, Morrison said. MISD will aim to hire more counselors and perhaps clinical psychologists as well, he said. In other news, although MISD has not yet announced its plans for its mask policy, Morrison noted there will be prom this year.

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null shared district updates March 9. SCREENSHOT VIA CONROE ISD YOUTUBE

someone who tested positive for COVID-19; the close-contact designation does not apply if both parties are masked, Null said. “If we remove our mask guidance, we will exponentially increase the number of students that are in quarantine,” he said. “And every single student that gets sent to quarantine is a child that wanted to be a face-to-face learner that has now lost their opportunity to do that.” Although face-covering requirements remain in place in schools, Null said the district will begin relaxing masking rules for outdoor activities such as recess and sporting events through the remainder of the spring semester. He said limited num- bers of parent volunteers will be allowed to return to work in school buildings this year as well, and some previously limited in-person learning opportunities such as small-group instruction can begin again.

Conroe ISD will meet April 20 at 6 p.m. 3205 W. Davis St., Conroe 936-709-7752 • www.conroeisd.net Montgomery ISD will meet April 20 at 6 p.m. 20774 Eva St., Montgomery 936-276-2000 • www.misd.org Willis ISD will meet April 14 at 5:30 p.m. 612 N. Campbell St., Willis 936-856-1200 • www.willisisd.org MEETINGSWE COVER

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

CITY& COUNTY

News fromMontgomery County and the cities of Conroe and Montgomery

Montgomeryunveils Safe Exchange Zone under 24/7 video surveillance

County judge responds toendofmaskmandate

BY VANESSA HOLT

up businesses, taking away mask mandates and the rest. We are so happy, Governor, ... for nally doing this,” Keough said in a March 2 video governor left open the possibility of counties reinstating capacity limits for businesses or other restrictions if hospitalizations in a region exceed 15% for seven days, he will not make such a decision. “I want to say to you as your county judge, that is never going to happen,” he said. post on his Facebook page. Keough said that while the

Montgomery County Commissioners Court March 23 and April 13 at 9:30 a.m. 501 N. Thompson St., Ste. 402, Conroe 936-756-0571 • www.mctx.org Conroe City Council March 25 at 9:30 a.m., April 8 at 6 p.m. MEETINGSWE COVER MONTGOMERY COUNTY As of March 10, Texans were no longer required by state law to wear a mask, and all businesses were allowed to operate at full capacity, according to a March 2 announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott. Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, who has criti- cized the mandates at various points in the past year, said he welcomes the change. “If you’re like me, you ought to be very pleased with what the governor has just told us about opening

BY ANNA LOTZ

wanted to bring to our area, espe- cially because Facebook groups are so popular these days, and people make all types of contacts locally, to exchange goods,” Solomon said in the release. “We wanted to give people a place where they could feel comfortable meeting.”

MONTGOMERY The Montgomery Police Department launched a Safe Exchange Zone on March 8 at City Hall, according to a March 3 news release from the city. The zone—two parking spaces outlined in blue at 101 Old Plantersville Road, Montgom- ery—is under 24-hour video surveil- lance to provide a safe meeting place for residents to exchange goods or avoid an uncomfortable location. “It can be used for child custody drop-os, e-commerce transactions or instances where a person would feel more comfortable having video surveillance,” Montgomery Police Chief Anthony Solomon said in the release. The city is encouraging residents in Montgomery and surrounding areas to use the zone. “This isn’t necessarily a new program, but it’s something that we

The zone debuted March 8. (Courtesy Montgomery Police Department)

300 W. Davis St., Conroe 936-522-3000 • www.cityofconroe.org Montgomery City Council March 23 and April 13 at 6 p.m. 101 Old Plantersville Road, Montgomery 936-597-6434 www.montgomerytexas.gov

SHEPPERD ST.

OLD PLANTERSVILLE RD.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

2021

C A M P G U I D E

GUIDE

A noncomprehensive list of camps in the area

COMPILED BY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER STAFF

Parents looking for camps for their kids have a number of options to choose from in the Conroe and Montgomery area, including virtual options for families looking to socially distance during the pandemic. This list is not comprehensive.

A+ Academics ART Arts DAY Day NIGHT Overnight SP Sports

Dates: June 8-Aug. 7 Cost: $950 7227 Camp Blessing Lane, Brenham 281-259-5789 www.campblessing.org Camp Invention gives students in kinder- garten to sixth grade the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities promot- ing science, technology, engineering and math as well as problem-solving skills. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the camp’s example activi- ties include taking apart a microphone and building a rubber-duck launcher. Additionally, Camp Invention also oers a virtual camp called Recharge At-Home for students in The Woodlands area. A+ DAY Dates: June 7-11 (Magnolia), June 28-Aug. 2 (virtual) Cost: $235 (weekly) Magnolia Elementary School, 31900 Camp Lantern Creek is an all-girls camp located on 100 acres in the woods of Montgomery. The camp oers a variety of activities such as doll making, singing, knitting, dancing and theater. ART NIGHT Dates: June 6-18, June 20-July 2, July 4-16, July 18-30 Cost: $1,625 (one week), $2,650 (two weeks) 4045 FM 1486, Montgomery 936-597-8225 www.camplanterncreek.com Carolina Creek Christian Camps oers three dierent camp experiences based on age group. Activities include zip lines, Nichols Sawmill Road, Magnolia Bear Branch Elementary School, 8909 FM 1488, Magnolia 800-968-4332 www.invent.org/local

SUMMER CAMPS The Art of Music Studio oers private and group music lessons for adults and children, and kids and teens can attend all-day camps. Private lessons and buddy camps are available in person or virtually. Campers can learn Christian drama and how to sing, write songs and play instru- ments including guitar, keyboard, drums and violin. ART DAY Dates: June 7-9 (private lessons and buddy camps only); June 14-16, July 12-14, July 19-21 Cost: $85-$130 (private lessons and buddy camps), $85 (group classes), $230 (all day camps) Harvest Family Church, 303 Post Oak The Bear Cave , hosted by Montgomery Little Bears Preschool, oers children ages 5-12 summer activities such as eld trips, scrapbooking activities and splash days on the playground. ART DAY Bear Cave at Montgomery Little Bears, 10600A Commerce Row, Montgomery 936-448-8302 www.montgomerylittlebears.com Camp Blessing oers weeklong camp sessions for individuals age 7 and older with physical or intellectual disabilities. Activities include horseback riding, canoeing, archery, arts and crafts, music, swimming, team sports, ropes course and sensory stations. ART NIGHT SP Drive, Conroe 936-756-8777 www.theartofmusicstudio.com Dates: May 28-Aug. 20 Cost: $160-$195 (week)

The Art of Music Studio COURTESY THE ART OF MUSIC STUDIO

Camp Lantern Creek COURTESY CAMP LANTERN CREEK

canoeing, disc golf, recording studio, archery, wakeboarding, tubing, arts workshops, sports and a ropes course. ART NIGHT SP Dates: May 30-Aug. 7 Cost: $399-$799 84 Wimberly Lane, Huntsville 936-594-4446 www.carolinacreek.org Camp Olympia oers one- to three-week sessions for ages 6-16 featuring sports, kayaking, sailing, swimming, dance, arts and crafts, drama horseback riding, mini-golf, yoga and other recreational activities. ART NIGHT SP Dates: May 30-Aug. 7 Cost: $1,925-$4,750 723 Olympia Drive, Trinity 936-594-2541 www.campolympia.com YMCA Camp Cullen oers youth campers between the ages of 5-17 to choose among activities such as water sports, horseback riding, nature exploration, science, arts and drama. Teen leadership camps are also oered. ART NIGHT SP

936-594-2274 www.ymcacampcullen.org VIRTUAL CAMPS

CodeWizardsHQ oers students ages 8-18 a three-week online coding course taught by teachers with more than ve years of experience teaching in an online environment. Participants learn software including Scratch, HTML and Python. A+ Dates: June 7-24, July 5-22, Aug. 2-19 Cost: $447 800-213-2417 https://codewizardshq.com/summer Woodlands Academy for the Performing Arts camps are open to any school-age child. Teenagers can participate or work as interns. Students learn songs and dances for a series of shows with Friday performances. Students can expect to sing, dance, act and work on other as- pects of productions. The spring theme is “Seussical the Musical,” and the summer theme is “Princess and the Frog.” ART Dates: April 3-May 22, June 5-July 31 Cost: $200 281-543-7322

Dates: June 6-Aug. 7 Cost: $1,295-$2,795 460 Cullen Loop, Ste. A, Trinity

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

ey-Seybold Clinic Locations Near You

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Conroe Family Medicine 7.4 miles from The Woodlands Clinic

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DINING FEATURE

BY EVA VIGH

Blackened Texas redsh

THREE COURSES TOTRY Customers can select a three-course meal from the menu for $29.95. Prime 16-ounce ribeye The prime 16-ounce ribeye is served with potatoes and asparagus as a main dish option.

The redsh is servedwith vegetables as a main dish option.

Bread pudding zabaglione

The bread pudding is a sweet dessert option.

PHOTOS BY EVA VIGHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Prime 101 Steakhouse Award-winning Italian chef brings big-city vibes to Montgomery P rime 101 Steakhouse owner Tony Nicoletta has a resume with more than

in March 2019, serves dry-aged black angus prime steaks, seafood, desserts and specialty cocktails. Nicoletta said he wanted to bring a high-quality steakhouse to the area. Although Nicoletta is the rst of his family to join the restau- rant industry, he said cooking runs in his blood. “My mother was the greatest Italian cook you’ve ever known in your life,” he said. Nicoletta has memorable stories from his 40-year career. He once owned a restaurant in Nashville, where big-name coun- try stars such as Garth Brooks

and Alan Jackson frequently visited. Nicoletta said he treated celebrities as though they were normal people. He recounted giving $20 to Jackson, who was wearing ripped jeans, and told him to “go get yourself a pair of jeans.” “All the celebrities loved me because I didn’t know who they were,” he said. After eventually retiring in Montgomery, Nicoletta decided to open another restaurant. “I [had] sold everything and retired,” he said. “I came out of retirement to do a nice restaurant for Montgomery.”

Phillip White works under Tony Nicoletta as the chef of Prime 101 Steakhouse.

40 years as a chef under his belt. The self-proclaimed “city Ital- ian”, who hails from North Caro- lina, has served as executive chef for three ve-star restaurants and was named chef of the year in Boston. He has managed and owned over a dozen restaurants, including several in Montgomery, such as Tony’s Seafood Shack. Today, Nicoletta owns and operates just one restaurant: Prime 101 Steakhouse, o Hwy. 105 in Montgomery. The restaurant, which opened

Prime 101 Steakhouse 19786 Hwy. 105, Montgomery Hours: 4-9 p.m. daily www.prime101steakhouse.com 936-448-7809

105

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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