Lake Houston - Humble - Kingwood Edition | November 2020

LAKE HOUSTON HUMBLE KINGWOOD EDITION

VOLUME 5, ISSUE 7  NOV. 20DEC. 22, 2020

ONLINE AT

CHANGING THE FLOW County and water ocials have spent millions of dollars to study and determine causes and solutions for ooding in the region. RECENT STUDIES PROPOSED: • $148.35 million in drainage projects for Kingwood • About $3 billion in regional ood projects outlined in a regional multicounty study SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Harris and Montgomery counties saw registered voters turn out in droves in the November election. Here is how local turnout compared to previous elections. VOTER TURNOUT HISTORIC TURNOUT

HUMBLE CITY COUNCIL 2019: 2020: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2 7.35%

60.44%

58.51%

2018: 2020:

73.41%

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

LakeHoustonareasees record-breakingballots Experts cite voter enthusiasm, new programs as contributing factors

The Kingwood Diversion Ditch will undergo a $62.9 million improvement. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Flood studies lay groundwork for future Multiple regional ood studies have been or will be completed this year—many of which outline multimillion-dollar improvements that could reduce ooding in the Lake Houston area. studies—will outline potential countywide ood projects for decades to come. “What we’re building is our next decade’s Capital Improvement Program that could be funded by CIP [or] it could be funded by another source like grants or loans,” he said. BY KELLY SCHAFLER

BY ANDY LI

Extensive voter outreach programs in Harris County may have contributed to the historic voter turnout in the Lake Houston area for the Nov. 3 election, experts said. Voter turnout in the 2020 election was the highest ever, and local turnout mirrored a greater trend statewide as well as in Harris and Montgomery counties as more voters cast their ballots during early voting than all of the 2016 election. CONTINUED ON 25

Matt Zeve, the deputy executive director of the Harris County Flood Control District, said the district will wrap up nine dierent watershed planning studies in the next several months. These studies—coupledwith recently completed drainage

The ood control district released results of the Kingwood Drainage Analysis in late October, which showed nine potential channel improvements

CONTINUED ON 22

Cities, counties tackle local police reform

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THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TODO LIST Local events and things to do HEALTH CARE Medical district breaks ground EDUCATION BRIEFS

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Kim Giannetti, kgiannetti@communityimpact.com EDITOR Kelly Schaer REPORTER Andy Li GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ronald Winters ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lagala Doran METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

FROMKIM: Thanksgiving is next week, and this holiday is an opportunity for us to give thanks for the many blessings we have. More than ever, there are people, businesses and families in need of help, and now is a great time to give back to your community. Check out our Volunteer Guide (see Page 17), which includes many ways you can share your time and make a dierence in someone’s life.

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12 New Caney ISD superintendent resigns CITY& COUNTY 15 Harris County shifts toll road funding

Kim Giannetti, GENERALMANAGER

FROMKELLY: One of our front-page stories this month looks at Lake Houston-Humble-Kingwood voter turnout data from the Nov. 3 election. A lot led up to this Election Day, which ended with many seats on the ballot in Harris and Montgomery counties being retained by incumbents. The Lake Houston area did see a record turnout, with more than 112,000 residents casting ballots during early voting alone. Kelly Schaer, EDITOR

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Local sources 33

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Gift ideas 2

WAYS TO GIVE BACK 17 Get involved with organizations, groups BUSINESS FEATURE 19

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CORRECTION: Volume 5, Issue 6 Last month’s business feature for K&S Sportswear on Page 17 incorrectly stated the business sold 16,000 “Humble ISD Strong” T-shirts, whereas it actually sold 6,000. Humble ISD Education Foundation also sold the T-shirts, not the business.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

IMPACTS

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

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Kingwood Place shopping center, Jersey Mike’s Subs oers grilled subs on freshly baked bread along with vegetables and The Juice, a combination of red wine vinegar and olive oil. In addition to subs, the franchise oers wraps, salads and cheesesteaks. 281-570-4767. www.jerseymikes.com 5 SafeSplash Swim School and SwimLabs opened a new partnered location Nov. 11 at 10423 N. Sam Houston Parkway E., Humble. SafeSplash Swim School oers indoor swim lessons for children and adults, and SwimLabs allows swimmers to get 360-degree video feedback to help improve their technique. 832-271-1446 (SafeSplash), 832-271-1459 (SwimLabs). www.safesplash.com/locations/humble, www.swimlabs.com/humble 6 AT&T opened Sept. 28 at 300 Northpark Drive, Ste. 450, Kingwood. The store sells cell phones, phone accessories, DirectTV, speakers, headsets and wireless internet. First responders can receive discounts on wireless services. 281-394-0320. www.att.com 7 Aspire Allergy & Sinus , an allergist clinic, opened Nov. 10 at 528 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood. Dr. Savannah Sommerhalder, the allergist at the practice, oers environmental and food allergy testing, allergy drops and shots, in-oce sinus procedures, asthma treatment and oral immunotherapy for adults and children. Aspire Allergy & Sinus has multiple clinics in Texas, Colorado and Florida, including seven other clinics in the Houston area. 713-766-5437. www.aspireallergy.com

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NOWOPEN 1 Five Below opened its new store Oct. 25 at 21422 Market Place Drive, New Caney. The retailer opened in the Valley Ranch Town Center, a shopping center developed by Signorelli Co. Five Below oers youth specialty items below $10. 832-685-2123. www.vebelow.com 2 Whitewater Express Car Wash opened at 23611 Hwy. 59, Porter, on

Oct. 27. The exterior express car wash franchise oers four dierent car wash packages and an unlimited monthly plan. The Porter location will be the franchise’s 18th location. 346-295-9950. www.whitewatercw.com 3 The Sarah at Lake Houston opened Oct. 25 at 17571 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Humble. The 17-acre multifamily development has 41 available units, but all 350 units are available for prelease. The community features a pool

overlooking a private lake; a clubhouse, a business center; a tness center and a multisport simulator. The outdoor living area, on-site dog park and dog wash station will open by January. 713-730-2635. www.sarahatlakehouston.com 4 Jersey Mike’s Subs opened Nov. 13 at 30129 Rock Creek Drive, Ste. 800, Kingwood, according to Kyle Potvin, business liaison from Splash Communications. Located in the

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Big City Wings

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COURTESY BIG CITY WINGS

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COMING SOON 8 Blue Lagoon Bar & Grill will open Dec. 2 at 15808 Crystal Terrace Drive, Humble. Located in the Balmoral community, the eatery has outdoor seating overlooking the 2-acre Crystal Clear Lagoon. The eatery will be open to the public, but the lagoon is only open to members. It will serve lunch items and dinner items, including steaks, seafood, Italian items, sandwiches and burgers. 281-609-4033. www.bluelagoonbargrill.com 9240 N. Sam Houston Parkway E., Ste. 101, Humble. Director of Operations Sam Elsaadi said that owner Gerald Rogers opened the original Atascocita location in July 2015. The Fall Creek eatery will be the ninth Houston-area location for Big City Wings, and three more are in the works in Cinco Ranch, East Downtown and Richmond Lakes, Elsaadi said. The eatery will serve 18 wing seasonings and dressings, burgers, waes and loaded baked potatoes. www.bigcitywings.com 10 Marble Slab Creamery will open a new location in early 2021 at 12230 W. Lake Houston Parkway E., 9 Big City Wings will open a new location in mid-December at Houston. The Summerwood location will feature numerous avors of ice cream as well as sorbet, low-fat yogurt, sundaes, cakes, smoothies, shakes and brownies. Cookie company Great American Cookies will also serve fresh-baked cookies from the ice cream shop. www.marbleslab.com 11 Burn Boot Camp , a national tness franchise, will open a new location

in January at 7154 Atascocita Road, Atascocita. Franchise owner Julie White said the business will oer 45-minute, high-intensity cardio and strength workouts for all tness levels. It will also oer two camps each day for women only and four camps that oer complimentary child care. 832-409-2876. www.burnbootcamp.com/atascocita-tx 12 Camp Bow Wow will open a new location in April 2021 at 11321 N. Sam Houston Parkway E., Humble. The national dog care franchise has eight locations in the Greater Houston area. The custom-made facility will be run by franchisee Christine Reese. The Humble facility will oer a variety of services for dogs, including day care; boarding with a 24-hour monitoring system; training and grooming. www.campbowwow.com 13 Wells Fargo Bank will open a new branch in mid-December at 1319 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood. The full-service bank will feature three teller stations, six banker desks and a mural depicting Kingwood’s history, said Ty Morrison, assistant vice president of corporate communications at Wells Fargo. www.wellsfargo.com RELOCATIONS 14 Gulf Atlantic Packaging Corporation will relocate its Texas distribution center in January to 7259 Rankin Road, Humble, in the Parc 59 development. The global packaging company is currently located at 15892 Diplomatic Plaza Drive, Houston, according to Grant Pearson, vice president of development at Jackson-Shaw. 281-852-6700. www.gap-co.com

Mark Mitchell and Jenna Armstrong continue to lead Partnership Lake Houston.

FEATURED IMPACT MERGER Partnership Lake Houston , a new organization, has formed as the result of the merger of two local entities: the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Houston Area Economic Development Partnership. The chamber, which is led by President and CEO Jenna Armstrong, serves as a voice for the business community in Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita, Fall Creek and Summerwood. The chamber founded the EDP in 2011; the EDP launched in 2012 with a focus on promoting regional and local development. Much like the EDP did, the partnership will help businesses navigate economic incentives, nancing and tax benets; it will also advocate for local businesses in the Texas Legislature, just as the chamber has done. Armstrong said she will remain the CEO of Partnership Lake Houston, while Mark Mitchell, who served as LHEDP president, will be PLH’s chief economic development ocer. However, they both will retain the same functions and roles. Now, the organization will be a “one- stop-shop” that will continue to grow and add jobs and capital investment to the region, she said. “[It’s] streamlining the organization

and integrating our processes to make us more ecient, which really helps us to be able to expand our services and our programming for our businesses,” she said. With the merger, Mitchell said, businesses can come to the organization and join as a member, receive business counseling, and access nancing resources and support on economic development benets. “We can be that central hub for all those organizations, and they can come to us and either get services right there, or we can be the conduit for that service to help them move forward,” he said. “Based on what we’ve seen over the past couple of years, there’s real and tangible value in that. That’s why we think it’s been embraced as much as it has just over this past year.” 110 W. Main St., Humble. 281-446-2128. www.lakehouston.org

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

TODO LIST

November, December events

COMPILED BY ANDY LI

LIVEMUSIC BACK PEWBREWING 26452 Sorters McClellan Road, Porter 281-608-7526 www.backpewbrewing.com DECEMBER 05 DadBod Band, 2 p.m. MEGATON BREWERY 808 Russell Palmer Road, Kingwood 281-973-9043 www.megatonbeer.com DECEMBER 19 Mojo Faction, 6:30 p.m. SHAMROCKS PUB&GRILL 228 First St. E., Humble 281-446-0407 www.shamrockshumble.com DECEMBER 04 Poison I. V, 9 p.m. 18 Shotgun Sally, 9 p.m.

21 SUPPORT LOCAL RESTAURANTS The third annual Taste of Kingwood brings together the many restaurants and businesses of the Kingwood area to allow residents and guests to sample various dishes and support local businesses. Noon-5 p.m. Free. Kingwood Town Center Park, 8 N. Main St., Kingwood. 214-734-1917. www.koutourevent.com DECEMBER 03 CONNECTWITH LOCAL BUSINESSES Partnership Lake Houston, a merger of the local chamber and economic development partnership, hosts Kingwood BizCom. The event features business, community and school leaders discussing local topics. The virtual event is open to members and nonmembers. 11 a.m.- noon. Free. 281-446-2128. www.lakehouston.org 05 THROUGH06 GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS Celebrate Christmas by attending the second annual Christmas market. It has food vendors and local businesses selling decorations, as well as an appearance from Santa. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sun.). Free (entry). Sutton’s Community Garden & Farmers Market, 701 Hamblen Road, Kingwood. www.facebook.com/customcreationsbyjay 17 ENJOY OUTDOOR TRIVIA The Kings Harbor development hosts a trivia night with topics ranging from history to sports and music. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and wear face masks. 7-9 p.m. Free. Kings Harbor, 1660 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood. 713-629-5200. www.kings-harbor.com

NOV. 24 DEC. 08

GOONAHIKE MERCER BOTANIC GARDENS

NOVEMBER 20 CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING Kingwood salon Sweet and Sassy is hosting a Thanksgiving event with Cinderella. In addition to Thanksgiving-themed crafts, there will be makeovers for children participating including hair, makeup and nails. Reservations are required. 5 p.m. $35.95. Sweet & Sassy Kingwood, 534 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood. 281-973-8035. www.sweetandsassy.com/kingwood Mercer Botanic Gardens hosts a women’s restorative hike for beginners. The hourlong hike is open to any woman 18 years of age or older, but registration is required. 8-9 a.m. Free. Mercer Botanic Gardens, 22306 Aldine Westeld Road, Humble. 713-274-4160. www.hcp4.net/community/parks/mercer

STETSONS NIGHTLIFE 19304 Hwy. 59 N., Humble 281-540-3999 www.stetsonsnl.com NOVEMBER 25 Wayne Toups and the Zydecajun Band, 9 p.m.

Find more or submit Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood 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 Rankin Road improvement project to begin in 2021 The long-awaited Rankin Road improvement project is set to break

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

UPCOMING PROJECTS

WOODLAND HILLS DR.

RANKIN ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT Timeline: early 2021-fall 2021 Cost: $3.65 million Funding source: city of Humble

ground at the start of next year. The $3.65 million project will widen and repave the roadway between the Union Pacific Corp. railroad and South Houston Avenue. It will also include installing a new storm sewer, replacing the existing water line and installing a pedestrian bridge on the south side of the road running across Garners Bayou, according to Humble officials. Humble Public Works Director Mark Arnold said the project was originally scheduled to begin in November, but the city shifted the start date due to concerns of holiday traffic as well as concerns of worker shortages during the holidays. Once construction begins, the project should be completed in six to eight months, he said. Humble City Council approved Angel Brothers Enterprises as the contractor for the project at its Sept. 24 council meeting.

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Lockwood Road expansion A project to expand Lockwood Road between Beltway 8 and the Union Pacific Corp. railroad from two to four lanes has been delayed due to finalizing agreements and a utility conflict, said Pamela Rocchi, the director of the capital improvement projects division at Harris County Precinct 4. The project was set to begin in the third quarter of 2020, but now the county plans to begin the project in the first quarter of 2021. Once construction begins, it will

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take nine months to complete. Timeline: first quarter 2021-

SOURCE: CITY OF HUMBLE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

fourth quarter 2021 Cost: $2.32 million

After the Sept. 24 meeting, Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe said the project has been years in the making. Most recently, it was postponed from the fiscal year 2019-20 budget to the FY 2020-21 budget due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, the city and real estate

company Jackson-Shaw Develop- ment finished expanding a different portion of Rankin Road on July 24. The separate project, which cost $800,000, expanded Rankin Road from two to four lanes between Hwy. 59 and the Union Pacific Corp. railroad tracks in Humble.

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 28. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT LHKNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 4, McCord Development

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LAKE HOUSTON - HUMBLE - KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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HEALTH CARE

Signorelli Co. begins construction on its Valley RanchMedical District

BY ANDY LI

seamless connectivity throughout the master plan and building the framework to support further devel- opment in the remaining districts within Valley Ranch.” The company is preleasing two of its medical district buildings, which oer about 180,000 square feet of oce space in total. In addition to medical oce space, there is space available for retail, marketing and restaurants in the district. In 2017, CHI St. Luke’s Health was announced as the hospital attached to the district, then called Vivacity, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. However, Sandra Ferguson, the marketing director for The Signorelli Co., could not conrm if CHI St. Luke’s Health was still signed to the project or if there was another hospital the development was in agreement with. Young said he believes the ongoing coronavirus pandemic only emphasizes the need for a medical district in the community.

100-acre medical district

180,000 square feet of oce space

The Signorelli Co. has broken ground on its Valley Ranch Medical District, an about 100-acre develop- ment where a hospital and medical oces will serve the community. The development is part of The Signorelli Co.’s larger Valley Ranch master-planned community, which includes the Valley Ranch Town Center at the intersection of Hwy. 59 and the Grand Parkway. Jay Young, the vice president of commercial at The Signorelli Co., said construction began in September and is expected to take “several years.” “The development of the Medical District responds to a large and growing void in the area, bringing much needed high-quality health and wellness solutions to our Northeast Houston corridor,” Young said. “Outside of the devel- opment within the Medical District, we are adding improved access throughout Valley Ranch to create and expand roadways, allowing for

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The Signorelli Co. broke ground on its roughly 100-acre Valley Ranch Medical District in September. (Rendering courtesy The Signorelli Co.)

“This area is already underserved for quality medical services and wellness, and will continue to see explosive population growth, especially with the completion of

the next leg of the Grand Parkway in 2022,” Young said. “We believe the current climate will only increase the demand for these services in our market.”

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

EDUCATIONBRIEFS Humble ISDadds NorthBelt Elementary School rebuild to 2018 bond program

Trustees accept superintendent resignation

On Nov. 10, Humble ISD added North Belt Elementary School to its 2018 bond program. The campus, which opened in 1968, will be rebuilt at a new, larger site nearby. Rebuilding a school Cost: $38 million Funding sources: 2018 bond funds, the district’s general fund

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

$38 million rebuild. North Belt Elementary School is currently located at 8105 North Belt Drive in Humble, while the new campus will be at the southeast corner of Old Humble and Bender roads. After an architect is approved by the board of trustees in December, construction could begin in early 2021 and be completed by August 2022, said Nolan Correa, HISD’s associate superintendent of operational support services. North Belt Elementary Principal Christina Morris said she was excited to have an updated campus that will be built to the modern design and educational standards of the district. “It’s significant to be able to provide our community and students with an updated learning environ- ment that will be able to have the space and the technology and the innovation that Humble [ISD] has been pushing,” she said.

HUMBLE ISD Unanticipated savings from under-budget bond projects will allow Humble ISD to rebuild North Belt Elementary School—a project not previously included in the district’s $575 million bond referendum fromMay 2018. At the Nov. 10 HISD board of trustees meeting, Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said rebuilding the almost 53-year-old campus has always been in the district’s plans. “North Belt certainly rises to the occasion of the next campus to be redone,” Fagen said. “And that population of students, in my opinion, is ready for that next-level campus.” HISD decided to prioritize the elementary school when the district saved roughly $35 million while bidding bond projects. HISD has also committed roughly $4 million from the general fund balance for the

BY ANDY LI

NEWCANEY ISD At the Nov. 16 meeting, New Caney ISD board of trustees accepted Superintendent Kenn Franklin’s resignation. Deputy Superintendent Matt Calvert will serve in the interim. Franklin was not present for the meeting, and no comments were made about his resignation. The board gave no reason for his sudden departure. At the end of the meeting, Vice President Creg Mixon said the district will continue to “move forward and advance.” Franklin became NCISD’s superintendent in 2009. Calvert previously served as the executive director of finance for NCISD and was an educator and administrator with Marshall ISD for nine years.

Current North Belt Elementary • Opened in January 1968 • 10.7 acres • 750-student capacity Future North Belt Elementary • Could open August 2022 • 27 acres • 950-student capacity

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SOURCE: HUMBLE ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY LakeHouston-area lawenforcement agencies reviewpolicies

After Houstonian George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May and the nationwide protests that followed, public scrutiny of law enforcement policies reached a new level. Lake Houston-area entities then began re-evaluating their use-of-force policies and investing in studies to examine possible oversights in the criminal justice system, law enforcement ocials said. Humble Police Chief Ken Theis, who was appointed as chief Oct. 8, said the department amended its use-of-force policy this summer under former Chief Delbert Dawes. He said the policy requires every ocer present or involved in any use of force to report it; ocers who witness an incident also have a duty to intervene. “We never had an issue with an ocer not reporting it, but it encourages [them] to make sure each and every ocer involved in that scene will say something,” Theis said. Harris County is also pushing forward on a broad range of studies into the county’s criminal justice system. The nal results of some of the studies could be released in 2021, county ocials said. Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Police Ocers’ Union are renegotiating their three-year labor contract. The Houston Police Department includes the Kingwood Division, which serves Kingwood and Summerwood. Assessingprocedures On June 9, Harris County Commis- sioners Court approved 11 motions aimed to address the county’s criminal justice system, which included feasibility studies and reports analyz- ing racial and ethnic disparities. Some studies are looking at the feasibility of creating a county-level emergency responder program and a civilian oversight board to investigate allega- tions of abuse of force, to name a few. Ana Yáñez Correa, deputy director of the Harris County Justice Administration Department, said some preliminary reports have been completed and the department is taking the next steps. For example, JAD, which is conducting the studies, launched court appointment and indigent defense dashboards this fall. BY KELLY SCHAFLER & EMMA WHALEN

“We are taking a multipronged approach to fulll these mandates,” she said. “We’re not just doing reports. ... As soon as we get data and we’re able to validate that data, we’re putting it in the public.” In early 2021, Correa said JAD hopes to release the nal versions of several studies and launch pilot programs with local law enforcement groups. Commissioners also directed the county’s eight constables meet with other agencies as well as JAD to develop a model use-of-force policy. Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, whose department serves the Atascocita area, said via email constables met for three months this fall to formalize the draft policy. He said constables will now coordinate with the sheri, the district attorney, the re marshal and the county attorney’s oce for their input. Herman said Precinct 4’s current policy mirrors those of all other Harris County law enforcement agencies; however, he did not provide policy details. “Our policy as well as other agencies have all been approved and vetted by the Harris County Attorney’s Oce,” he said. In addition to the incident reporting, Theis said one of his main goals for the Humble Police Department is to increase community policing. “That builds a really good foundation for your department,” Theis said. “Not that it’s way o base or anything—it’s just something we need to improve upon.” Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s oce, which serves the New Caney and Porter areas, did not return comments by press time. Houstonpolice changes In late June, Turner appointed 45 members to his task force on policing reform, which explored best practices and procedures for the Houston Police Department; it released a report with its recommendations Sept. 30. “People are watching in a way that they haven’t before,” said Carla Brailey, the co-chair of Turner’s task force. “Being a part of this committee, we knew the results could be a matter of life or death.” With the Dec. 31 deadline for renewing the police union contract

Tracking police reform

Law enforcement agencies in the Lake Houston area began reviewing their policies this year. Initiatives by Harris County and the cities of Humble and Houston could bring changes to local operations.

Harris County initiatives

Harris County commissioners approved a range of studies into the county’s criminal justice system on June 9. Ocials with the Justice Administration Department said some nal reports could be released in early 2021.

COURT ACTIONS

• Called for a study into racial disparities in the criminal justice system and the criminalization of poverty • Called for a study to examine creating a civilian oversight board to investigate allegations of abuse of force by local police

• Proposed creating a public site where instances of police use of force would be compiled, with video footage and details on the race, ethnicity and genders of those involved • Directed the Justice Administration Department to work with law enforcement agencies to come up with a uniform policy for how law enforcement uses force

Houston initiatives

On Sept. 30, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s police reform task force released recommendations in six categories.

Crisis intervention: mental health initiatives Field readiness: training, ocer wellness Accountability: clear ocer expectations

Community policing: engagement and recruitment Independent oversight: misconduct investigations Power dynamics: transparency with the public

Humble initiatives

The Humble Police Department amended its use-of-force policy this summer to require all ocers involved or present when force is used to report it. The department also plans to encourage more community policing.

SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY, HUMBLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER’S TASK FORCE ON POLICING REFORMCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

approaching, the mayor’s reform task force and a report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas included proposals to remove or revise two key HPOU contract provisions to improve accountability. However, some union representatives said they are crucial worker protections. One is the 48-hour rule allowing ocers to review evidence against them in a misconduct allegation before making a statement. The other is the 180-day rule preventing the department from disciplining ocers involved in misconduct that occurred more than six months prior. Advocates argue the rules give ocers an advantage in misconduct allegations. However, Kevin Lawrence, executive director of statewide police union Texas Municipal Police Association, said the 48-hour rule is a balancing act.

He said if ocers are required to submit a statement following an allegation, but civilians have the right to remain silent, the 48-hour rule levels the playing eld. HPOU Executive Director Ray Hunt added that the Houston Police Department can ask for permission from the state attorney general to discipline an ocer after 180 days. “It has nothing to do with us trying to say, ‘Hey, we want you to hurry up so you don’t nd the evidence,’” he said. “If you can’t nd it in six months, you’ve got a problem.” If Turner and HPOU President Joe Gamaldi do not agree and receive a vote of approval fromHPOU members and City Council by Dec. 31, the contract automatically renews as is with a 2% raise for ocers. The contract does not prevent talks from happening after Dec. 31.

13

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Harris County, Montgomery County & the city of Houston

Humble City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 at 114 W. Higgins St., Humble. 281-446-3061. www.cityoumble.com Harris County Commissioners Court meets virtually at 10 a.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 8, as the county has not yet begun hosting in-person meetings. 713-274-1111. www.harriscountytx.gov Montgomery County Commissioners Court meets at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 8 at 501 N. Thompson St., Conroe. 936-756-0571. www.mctx.org Houston City Council meets at 9 a.m. Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9 and 16 at 901 Bagby St., Houston. 832-393-1100. www.houstontx.gov All meetings, with the exception of Humble City Council, are livestreamed. MEETINGSWE COVER HIGHLIGHTS HARRIS COUNTY On Nov. 10, Harris County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 to launch the Immigrant Legal Services Fund program. The $2.5 million program will help immigrants in the county obtain legal services and for immigrant crime victims to obtain visas that allow them to interact with law enforcement without fear of deportation. HARRISCOUNTY Isabel Longoria was chosen as the new Harris County elections administrator Oct. 30. The position will overtake election-related duties from the county clerk and the tax-assessor collector. Longoria has served on the Houston Planning Commission, on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Commission and as a special adviser on voting rights to the former County Clerk Chris Hollins. MONTGOMERY COUNTY At a Nov. 10 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting, County Judge Mark Keough was granted a county deputy as a security detail after citing various safety concerns. According to Keough, the approved position will provide additional security for his oce and himself as he travels to represent the county. The deputy’s position will be paid for out of the county's contingency funds, with an annual salary of $56,139. HOUSTON The city of Houston began a program in mid-October to remove invasive kudzu vines from the Kingwood area. The Kudzu Vine Removal Pilot Program was given $34,500 to remove the non-dangerous species between Oct. 21-31. The city will now determine if the program should be expanded communitywide.

Harris Countyapproves $300Mtransfer of surplus toll revenue BY SHAWN ARRAJJ HARRIS COUNTY At a Nov. 10 meeting, Harris County Commission- ers Court approved the transfer of DOLLAR DIVERSION Harris County ocials authorized the transfer of $300 million in surplus Harris County Toll Road Authority revenue to the county’s general fund. The money will be use for mobility-related priorities.

DistrictBraceheads toDecember runo transportation-related purposes.” Once transferred to the general fund, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said, the funding could be used to pay o road debt and on projects that fall at $300 million in surplus toll revenue to the county’s general fund to be used for transportation needs. The move followed a discussion at a Sept. 15 meeting in which the county considered forming a new limited government corporation, or LGC, that would use surplus toll road revenue for more purposes, including those that fall outside the realms of infrastructure and mobility. At the Nov. 10 meeting, Harris County Budget Director Dave Berry said the county had since moved away from that idea. “The $300 million transfer, which was originally contemplated in a limited government corporation, would still be made to the county,” he said. “Now, it would be restricted to

HCTRA REVENUE FROM2020 TOLL ROAD PAYMENTS $901M $438M $463M Expenses Surplus

$300MILLION in funding transferred from the toll road authority to the county as a one- time payment $90MILLION to be paid annually moving forward Harris County can use the money on TRANSPORTATIONPROJECTS.

About $137 million of toll road surplus revenue was transferred to Harris County’s four precincts last year for commissioners to use on local mobility projects.

$137M

$326M

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY BUDGET OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

the nexus of transportation and ood control, among other uses. During the September discussions, Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle opposed the formation of the LGC; they argued the money collected from toll roads should not fund projects unrelated to infrastructure.

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

HarrisCountyopenspet resourcecenter

BY DANICA LLOYD

The facility features new services, including indoor and outdoor kennel runs for dogs; a pet grooming room; cat condos with separate sleeping and litter box sections; and separate entrances for adoption, admission and wellness services. A four-section dog park and pavilion is slated for completion in late 2020.

HARRIS COUNTY Ocials with Harris County Public Health gathered Oct. 28 to celebrate the grand opening of Harris County Pets, an animal resource center. The center replaces the previous Harris County Animal Shelter. The new facility opened years after Harris County voters approved a $24 million bond proposition in 2015. The center provides increased capacity and expanded services for pets. The 50,000-square-foot facility can house 300 dogs and 225 cats at once. Ocials said the previous facility had the capacity for 12,000 animals annually but was averag- ing an intake of 24,000. “The new Harris County Pets Resource Center will help our Veterinary Public Health Division deliver enhanced programs that will save many more pets and will allow us to expand our services to both residents and to furry family members alike,” Veterinary Public Health Director Michael White said.

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

HOUSTON After more than a year, the Houston City Council District B runo will nally appear on the Dec. 12 election ballot. The race for District B, which includes parts of the Humble area, initially took place in November 2019. Tarsha Jackson and Cynthia Bailey claimed 20.85% and 14.45% of votes, respectively; Renee Jeerson Smith came in at third, with 13.41% of the votes. Jeerson Smith then led a legal challenge arguing that Bailey could not run for oce as she has a felony conviction, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. On Aug. 10, the First Court of Appeals armed a trial court’s January decision, which was that the runo election could continue in May with Jackson and Bailey on the ballot. “This December, at long last, [District B residents] will be able to choose their representative on City Council,” former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins said in an Oct. 21 release.

CANINO RD.

N

Harris County Pets 612 Canino Road, Houston 281-999-3191 www.countypets.com Adoption hours: Mon.-Fri. noon-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. New features: • Indoor and outdoor kennel runs • Separate adoption, admission and wellness service entrances • New cat condos • Pet grooming room

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

2020 V O L U N T E E R G U I D E WAYS TOGIVE BACK Volunteer opportunities in the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood area

COMPILED BY ANDY LI, KELLY SCHAFLER & HANNAH ZEDAKER

Help out the Humble, Atascocita and Kingwood communities in numerous ways throughout the year by volunteering with local nonprot groups. Volunteer opportunities included in this guide range from planting trees to helping a museum. This list is noncomprehensive. VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

Application

Background check

Orientation

Under age 18 allowed

EMPOWER CHILDREN HUMBLE ISD EDUCATION FOUNDATION The foundation wants volunteers to serve on committees leading up to the Humble Rodeo & Cooko on Jan. 2930 and Feb. 56. The fundraising event, which supports education projects in the district, will also need assistance on the event days. Sample activities: serve on planning committees, assist the day of the event at the ticket booth, help at the kids cooko event or assist barbecue judges 10203 Birchridge Drive, Humble 2816418140 www.humblerodeo.com 1 1 LAKE HOUSTON FAMILY YMCA The Kingwood facility is currently seeking volunteers to coach sports. More volunteer opportunities will be available in 2021. While there is not an age requirement, volunteers must be ve years or older than the children they serve, and an adult will be with them. Sample activities: serve meals; greet visitors; mentor a child; and coach ag football, basketball or soccer 2402 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood 281-360-2500 www.ymcahouston.org 1 1 1 1

Texas and engages with the public with volunteer and planting opportunities. Volunteers younger than 16 must be with an adult. Sample activities: care for nursery trees, remove invasive species and plant trees 22306 Aldine Westeld Road, Humble 281-353-8100 www.hcp4.net/legacytrees 1 MERCER BOTANIC GARDENS Volunteers can work in the greenhouses, plant trees and assist with educational programs. Groups may also sign up to volunteer at Mercer Botanic Gardens. Sample activities: promote plant growth, assist with online plant sale customer service, read children’s books during storytime, teach Music in the Gardens, lead the Women’s Restorative Hiking group and assist with gardening tours 22306 Aldine Westeld Road, Humble 7132744160 www.hcp4.net/parks/mercer 1 1 SERVE SENIORS PRECINCT 4 ENCORE PROGRAM The program oers activities to thousands of seniors annually. Volunteers, who must be 50 or older, can travel with Precinct 4 to volunteer throughout Harris County. Volunteers can also assist with day camps and events. Sample activities: cashier, take tickets and decorate for events 7132744050 www.hcp4.net/encore/volunteer 1 1 BETTER THE CITY HUMBLE MUSEUM The museum reopened Nov. 14 at its new location next to the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center. The museum’s daily operations are run by volunteers. Sample activities: run daily tours as docents, update web pages, sell store merchandise, le and organize pictures and documents, and

Lake Houston Family YMCA

Legacy Trees Project

COURTESY LAKE HOUSTON FAMILY YMCA

COURTESY HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 4

SUPPORT HEALTH ANDWELLNESS

donated books, puzzles, CDs and DVDs sold go toward library programs. FOLK needs computer-savvy volunteers at its center on Northpark Drive to sell items online. Sample activities: pull books from shelves and send them to online customers, list books on Amazon, and inventory and track shelved books 1701 Northpark Drive, Ste. 29, Kingwood 2817935430 www.kingwoodfolk.org 1 1 1 SUPPORT FAMILIES FAMILY PROMISE OF LAKE HOUSTON The nonprot provides programs that help homeless families be self-sucient through various classes, such as life skills, parenting, budgeting and GED certication. Sample activities: provide home-cooked meals, dine with families, mentor parents and children, tutor children, oer job support, maintain the day center, decorate for holidays 111 Ave. G S., Humble HUMBLE AREA ASSISTANCE MINISTRIES The interfaith organization provides programs for senior citizens, helps low-income individuals be self-sucient, assists with rent and nances and helps homeless individuals. Volunteers can help at its two resale stores or social services building, but on-site volunteering is limited due to COVID19. Volunteers can also assist in o-site projects, which include gathering and donating care packages for infants, seniors, families, students and homeless individuals. Volunteers 15 or younger must be with an adult. 2814413754 www.fplh.org 1 1 1 Sample activities: gather and donate food items, put together a hygiene pack, bring homemade baked goods, collect gently used books, read to children, collect and donate Christmas toys 1204 First St. E., Humble 2814463663 www.haamministries.org/volunteer 1 1 1 1

FAMILYTIME CRISIS AND COUNSELING CENTER

The nonprot serves victims of domestic and sexual violence and human tracking. Volunteers are needed for the Holiday Shopping Spree on Dec. 1517, where clients can pick gifts for their children. It also needs help at its Porter thrift shop and shelter. Volunteers under 18 must be with an adult. Sample activities: plan activities, provide meals, and organize donations at the shelter; assist at the store; help parents choose gifts for their children and keep shelves in order at the annual event 23874 Loop 494, Porter (thrift store) 2814462615 www.familytimeccc.org 1 1 1 1 HEAVEN’S ARMY The religious nonprot, which assists those aected by human tracking, is seeking volunteers for Home of Amazing Grace, its women’s discipleship program. Volunteers teach and counsel women but can also provide administrative and marketing work, such as legal assistance and fundraising. Volunteers must take a drug test. Sample activities: teach, provide legal aid, help with marketing, lawn service and cosmetology P.O. Box 197, Cleveland 8324017965 www.heavensarmy-tx.org 1 1 1 1 HUMBLE ISD COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Humble ISD’s community development department works with parent groups at campuses across the district. HISDwants volunteers who want to uplift teachers by writing encouraging notes or making treat bags. Sample activities: make bags or write notes for teachers 10203 Birchridge Drive, Humble 2816418142 www.humbleisd.org 1

CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

JESSE H. JONES PARK & NATURE CENTER

Harris County Precinct 4’s Jesse Jones Park wants volunteers with a special skill as well as those who can lead educational experiences for children about nature or Texas history. Volunteers under the age of 18 require a parental consent form, and volunteers under the age of 16must be with an adult. Sample activities: habitat management or conservation work, homesteadmaintenance, tour guides, living history demonstrators, camp counselors, administrative work and fundraiser 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble 2814468588 www.hcp4.net/parks/jjp/volunteer 1 1 1 LEGACY TREES PROJECT Harris County Precinct 4’s Legacy Trees Project promotes the benets of trees, supports the cultural heritage of

help with special events 601 Higgins St., Humble info@humblemuseum.com www.humblemuseum.com 1 1 1

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY KINGWOOD The nonprot operates a used bookstore in the Kingwood Branch Library. Proceeds from

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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