Lake Houston - Humble - Kingwood Edition | May 2020

LAKEHOUSTON HUMBLE KINGWOODEDITION

VOLUME 5, ISSUE 1  MAY 4MAY 31, 2020

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KELLY SCHAFLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

ON THE BRINK

Since the coronavirus began aecting the region in mid-March, ocials with the city of Humble as well as the Houston Airport System have been waiting for data to reiterate what they already know to be true: The local economy is under strain.

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMPATRON

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Gov. Greg Abbott announced April 27 a plan to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak, which included opening businesses in phases in May. Despite this, Humble-area ocials said the climb to a repaired economy is far from over. Mark Mitchell, president of the Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership, said not only will the coronavirus aect local sales, but it also will likely cause a strain on small-business owners for months to come.

Humble economy takes hit during coronavirus

IMPACTS

5

CONTINUED ON 14

Commissioners set terms for land purchase

KELLY SCHAFLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Like many other industries in the Greater Houston area, the travel industry was reeling in the month of March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Stay-at-home orders as well as travel advisories and restrictions in place amid the pandemic caused passenger travel to decrease by about 50% at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in March 2020 as com- pared to March 2019, according to data from the Houston Airport System. IAH saw a decrease of 1.36 million passengers

GOVERNMENT

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Murky skies ahead for airport, hospitality industries

CONTINUED ON 15

VESSEL PILATES CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

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EMILY HEINEMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

All content in this print publication, both editorial and advertisements, was up to date as of press deadline. Due to the fast-changing nature of this event, editorial and advertising information may have changed. Please visit communityimpact.com and advertiser websites for more information. Thanks for your support.

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THIS ISSUE

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERHOUSTONMETRO Jason Culpepper GENERAL MANAGER Emily Heineman, eheineman@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens EDITOR Kelly Schaer COPY CHIEF Andy Comer

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FROMEMILY: During the past month, I have been in awe of the resilience, creativity and sheer determination I’ve witnessed in our community. Business owners are innovating in ways we might not ever have expected, and our community continues to rally behind our restaurants and retailers. Our editorial team is working around the clock to deliver enterprise, hyperlocal news stories both in print and online. To receive news that aects your everyday livelihood, visit communityimpact.com and become a daily newsletter subscriber today.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

COMPILED BY TREVOR NOLLEY AND KELLY SCHAFLER

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

FEATURED IMPACTS GETTING CRAFTY Two Kingwood-area craft shops have been making masks to donate and sell to the Lake Houston-area community. Creativity Shell Creative Director Shelancia Daniel said the Kingwood nonprot originally asked students to make masks for themselves while also participating in other at-home lessons. Then the need for masks increased, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised in early April the general public should wear face masks or fabric coverings in public. About three months ago, Kingwood’s Krafty Shack received a donation of three sewing machines and fabric, owner Ruth Ugarte-Pratt said. Now, she said she feels like it happened to help her sew masks for the community. In the rst two days, the business received at least 2,000 mask requests from the community. “I’m not making money doing this, but I have the satisfaction of being able to help people and that [my employees] at least are making some money,” she said. CREATIVITY SHELL 1580 Kingwood Drive, Ste. A, Kingwood 832-943-9767 • www.creativityshell.org KRAFTY SHACK B A 2614 Chestnut Ridge Road, Kingwood 281-359-7775 • www.kraftyshack.com The educational center will serve stu- dents ages 6 weeks to 12 years old when it opens this fall. 346-444-8700. www.kiddieacademy.com/academies/ atascocita ANNIVERSARIES 6 The Opera Leggera celebrated its 15-year anniversary March 21. The performing arts company is located at 804 Russell Palmer Road, Kingwood. The

PEDALING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC

MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Tailwind Bicycles , a bicycle shop in Kingwood, has been busy with hundreds of bicycle repairs in the wake of the virus, owner Ben McQuade said. Kingwood residents have been exhuming their old bikes from their garages and bringing them to the shop for tuneups, he said. Since the stay-at-home orders began, McQuade said the shop has been “overloaded” with repairs. Foot trac as well as website trac has increased by about 300%, he said. Tailwind Bicycles will also relocate in June to 4003 Rustic Wood Drive, Kingwood. It will also change its name to Kingwood Bicycles TAILWIND BICYCLES 2714 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Ste. 120, Kingwood 281-608-7522 • www.tailwindbikeshop.com C

PORTER

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RUSSELL PALMER RD.

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KINGWOOD

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1960

1960

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TIMBER FOREST DR.

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HUMBLE

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LAKE HOUSTON

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ATASCOCITA

MADERA RUN PKWY.

MESA DR.

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SUBSEA LN.

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NOWOPEN 1 A new Smoothie King location opened March 8 at 12029 N. Grand Parkway E., Ste. 120, New Caney, in Valley Ranch Town Center. The store oers dierent types of smoothies, snacks and supplements. 281-354-2435. www.smoothieking.com 2 Tint World had its grand opening March 7 at 8090 FM 1960 East, Hum- ble. The business provides a range of automotive styling and safety services, including window tint, security and paint protection lm, and electronic upgrades. 832-995-0622. www.tintworld.com/ locations/tx/humble-087 3 SANNA baby and child , a locally owned boutique, opened its rst store- front Feb. 27 at 1550 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood. Owner Sarah Lucas said her

ASSAY ST. business is still fullling online orders and oering curbside pickup and local delivery. The store, which has been oper- ating online for four years, specializes in children’s apparel, books and gifts as well as women’s apparel and gifts. 281-312-0992. www.sannababyandchild.com 4 Marco’s Pizza , a national pizza chain, opened a Humble location March 15 at 14954 Mesa Drive, Ste. 103, Humble. The Italian counter-serve eatery serves classic and specialty pizzas, salads and subs. The location oers delivery and takeout. 216-267-6000. www.marcos.com COMING SOON 5 Kiddie Academy of Atascocita broke ground on its new learning center Feb. 20 at 12010 Madera Run Parkway, Humble, in The Groves master-planned community.

Tailwind Bicycles received many orders for work in March and April (Kelly Schaer/ Community Impact Newspaper)

anniversary performance is set for June 20 at 7 p.m., but it could change due to the coronavirus pandemic. 713-992-1696. www.operaleggera.com 7 Lake Houston American Shaman celebrated its one-year anniversary Feb. 15 at 1420 FM 1960 Bypass Road, E. Ste. 106, Humble. The shop sells a variety of products, including ultra-concentrated, terpene-rich industrial hemp products. 281-725-6030. www.lakehoustoncbd.com

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

LOCAL PROJECTS

ONGOING PROJECT

GrandParkway constructionwill temporarily shut downHwy. 59 lanes

W. LAKE HOUSTON PKWY.

494

SORTERS MCCLELLAN RD.

LISA LN.

59

59

1960

TWIGSWORTH LN.

LAKE HOUSTON

As the Texas Department of Trans- portation advances its $855 million project to expand the Grand Parkway fromNew Caney to Baytown, some Hwy. 59 lanes will temporarily shut down in the summer to allow crews to build bridges over the highway. The work will be done in several phases, with work having started April 17, according to an April 3 news release from Grand Parkway Infrastructure LLC, the contractor for the project. Portions of the Hwy. 59 frontage roads as well as northbound and southbound main lanes will be closed to trac, according to the release from the contractor. In late April, southbound and northbound main lanes of Hwy. 59 closed for a day, and frontage roads closed several times, according to GPI. As of press time, GPI has not released the May lane closures.

GPI Public Relations Manager Chris Neil said all closures will be posted on the project website, in media advisories and on social media accounts. However, he did note the lanes will close periodically over the next few months. “These lanes will be closed peri- odically when the crews engage in a number of critical activities, such as erecting bridge beams, setting deck panels, pouring concrete, installing railings and other miscellaneous activities,” he said. Grand Parkway segments H, I-1 and I-2—which span a 52.8-mile corridor—are set to open in spring 2022. Segment G, a 13.7-mile section from I-45 to Hwy. 59, opened in 2016, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. For more information on the project, visit www.sh99grandparkway.com.

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FM 1960 expansion The Texas Department of Transportation will bid two projects in July to expand the FM 1960 East corridor from four to six lanes and add a raised median. Phase 1 includes the road between Business FM 1960 to east of Twigsworth Lane. Phase 2 will expand the road from Twigsworth Lane to just west of the Lake Houston bridge. Construction on the phases will begin in mid- to late 2020. Timeline: mid- to late 2020-2023 (Phase 1) and mid- to late 2020-2024 (Phase 2) Cost: $64 million (Phase 1), $70 million (Phase 2) Funding sources: federal funding, TxDOT

Hamblen Road overlay rehabilitation The city of Houston began work in mid-March on a construction project to replace overlay asphalt on portions of Hamblen Road. Hamblen Road will be re- paved between Loop 494 and Lisa Lane, and construction will nish in late June. Timeline: mid-March-late June Cost: $433,000 Funding source: city of Houston

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF APRIL 13. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT LHKNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

Grand Parkway bridge construction began April 17.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

HIGHER EDUCATION Lone Star College-Kingwood nears end of 2014 bond projects

KINGWOOD BOND PROJECTS

Voters approved Lone Star College System’s $485 million bond in November 2014, and LSC-Kingwood projects are still ongoing—some of them several years behind schedule.

The Lone Star Health Professions Center will open in fall 2021. (Rendering courtesy Lone Star College-Kingwood)

COST $ ESTIMATED COMPLETION

KELLINGTON DR.

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

process, because then [resources] were being redirected to Harvey reconstruction eorts,” Scott said. For example, LSCKingwood broke ground March 2 on the health professions center that was originally scheduled to open in 2018, but it is now set to open in fall 2021. The center will house simulation labs and medical spaces for dental assistants, nursing, occupational therapy assistants and respiratory care. LSCKingwood President Katherine Persson said Harvey ooded 80% of the campus’s buildings in 2017, but the campus was able use some bond funds earmarked for renovations to existing facilities to help rebuild the campus after the storm. While Kingwood’s enrollment numbers are not where LSCS assumed the school would be in 2014, Persson said the campus’s course hours are staying steady.

PROJECTS ORIGINAL UPDATED

Lone Star College-Kingwood broke ground March 2 on an $25.6 million health professions center, which is the campus’s last major project in a multimillion-dollar bond referendum. More than ve years after voters approved Lone Star College Sys- tem’s $485 million bond package in November 2014, bond projects are still ongoing—some of them several years behind schedule. Vice Chancellor of Strategic Priorities Kyle Scott said in March $185 million in bonds remained to be issued. Scott said construction at LSCKingwood and across LSCS were delayed by Hurricane Harvey, even if campuses were not ooded. Scott said there are currently no changes to planned projects as a result of coronavirus-related closures in the spring. “[Harvey] delayed the overall

Student services expansion

Dec. 2016

May 2017

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$4M $

$2.6M $

(+ 5 MONTHS, - $1.4M)

59

LSC-Process Technology Center Health Professions Center

Dec. 2016

Jan. 2018

$21.4M $

$22.5M $

(+ 13 MONTHS, + $ 1.1M)

June 2018

Fall 2021

Prior to 2014, LSCS estimated LSCKingwood would have more than 13,000 students enrolled by 2020, Persson said. In fall 2019, the campus has roughly 12,200, and this semester the campus has about 11,000, she said. “We know, nationally, enrollment in higher ed is down the last couple of years from a strong economy, strong workforce,” she said. “But we also know we’re continuing to grow, so it averages out as a positive growth slope if you look at it year after year.”

$25.6M $

$25.6M $

(+ 38 MONTHS, + $0M)

Increase surface parking

June 2018

Fall 2021

$2.03M $

$2.03M $

(+ 38 MONTHS, + $0M)

Renovations to existing facilities Facility assessments

Dec. 2019

Ongoing

$2.2M $

TBD $

Dec. 2019

Ongoing

$1M $

TBD $

SOURCE: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT Commissioners set terms for WoodridgeVillage acquisition

Montgomery County

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TERMS OF AGREEMENT Harris County commissioners are considering purchasing the Woodridge Village property for a regional detention facility. However, the purchase comes with some terms. 1 Montgomery County must increase development regulations in the 500-year ood plain. 2 The city of Houston must provide undened “assets” to the Harris County Flood Control District. 3 The developer and the county must agree on a purchase price. SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Woodridge Village development

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Elm Grove Village

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Harris County

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Jack Cagle said at the April 7 meeting. Commissioners also directed the county to negotiate two interlocal agreements with Montgomery County and the city of Houston. The interlocal agreement with Mont- gomery County will request ocials increase development regulations per Atlas 14 guidelines, rainfall data adopted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As of April 23, Montgomery County has not been contacted by Harris County regarding the interlocal agreement, according to Jason Millsaps, chief of sta for Montgom- ery County Judge Mark Keough. Harris County Engineer John Blount said county ocials believe it is important for Montgomery County to update its minimum detention standards and its development regulations in the 500-year ood plain, which is an area that has a 0.2%

Harris County commissioners voted April 7 to continue negoti- ating with the property owners of Woodridge Village, an undeveloped property in south Montgomery County that ocials want to turn into a detention area. Woodridge Village is a 268-acre residential development from Figure Four Partners—a subsidiary of Perry Homes—accused of causing ooding in Kingwood neighborhoods in Harris County, such as Elm Grove Village, in a May rainstorm and during Tropical Storm Imelda in September. Figure Four Partners has reportedly oered to let city and county entities purchase the land for $14 million for ood-mitigation purposes. “We believe that from some of the stats ... we could actually take 850 of the 1,306 homes out of the 500-year ood plain,” Precinct 4 Commissioner

Figure Four Partners has oered to let government partners purchase a 268-acre development that Kingwood residents allege caused ooding. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper)

chance of ooding in any given year. “It’s very critical that our partners adopt similar criteria so that all the work that we’re doing isn’t undone by future development that’s not putting in the appropriate detention,” Blount said. Additionally, county ocials will seek an interlocal agreement with the city of Houston requesting the city partner with the county by oering

undened “assets” to the Harris County Flood Control District. Cagle said the partnership would keep the district from spending money on something it may otherwise have to rent from the city or buy. A statement from Figure Four Partners said the company would not add any costs to the sales price as long as an agreement is in place by May 15.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

CORONAVIRUS BRIEFS Montgomery County sees few test kits, lack of free COVID19 testing

CORONAVIRUS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

The county has more than 530 CONFIRMED CASES out of 607,391 residents. The closest free testing facility for the region was set up at

ZIP codes 77339 and 77365 include 49 CONFIRMED CASES in the Kingwood area. 25 Montgomery County has privately operated testing sites.

As of April 27, Montgomery County had not set up free testing sites because repeated county requests for COVID-19 tests were not fullled. Numbers are as of press time.

BY ANDY LI AND EVA VIGH

and prior to the opening of Butler Stadium as a testing site, the MCPHD entered a request to order emergency supplies from the state, including 1,000 COVID-19 test kits, and received six, according to an April 14 MCPHD news release. The Montgomery County Oce of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also requested COVID-19 test kits and was told the state would consider sending kits in August, according to the release. Several major hospital systems— St. Luke’s, Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist and Texas Chil- dren’s Hospital—then attempted to pool resources and set up free test- ing sites in Houston and surrounding counties, Willingham said. But these entities also never received enough resources to provide test sites in areas outside Houston, she said.

Due to limited resources, Montgom- ery County has been unable to secure enough testing kits to launch a free coronavirus testing site as of press time April 27. “We wouldn’t want to implement mass-scale testing until we are sure we have the supply to meet the demand,” said Misti Willingham, public infor- mation ocer for the Montgomery County Public Health District. Ocials with privately run testing sites said they did not have the funds as of mid-April to adequately serve the uninsured population. Ideally, there should be a free testing center in every quadrant of Montgomery County, Willingham said. But as of April 20, the closest free site for residents was Butler Stadium in southwest Houston. During the week of March 8

AMERICA'S ER TESTING SITE

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BUTLER STADIUM in Houston.

STONEBRIDGE CHURCH DR.

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SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Willingham said the MCPHD is working to obtain more test supplies. Chris Van Deusen, director of media relations for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said one chal- lenge for the state has been obtaining testing swabs. Van Deusen said April 20 that the DSHS received 10,000 nasopharyngeal swabs the week prior to distribute. However, the county has not had a guarantee of supplies and manpower. Meanwhile, several private entities have opened testing sites in the county with residents paying or billing

Abbott updates statewide order “Somebody has to pay the check. And right now, we’re the one’s hold- ing the bill,” said Dr. Mark Feanny, the president, CEO and owner of America’s ER. BEN THOMPSON CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT. insurance for the tests. America’s ER opened the county’s rst drive-thru site at StoneBridge Church in The Woodlands on April 4. Lone Star Clinic Family Clinic opened its drive-up testing clinic April 13, testing about 500 individuals per week, CEO Karen Harwell said.

Domestic violence calls climb amid coronavirus pandemic BY EVA VIGH AND HANNAH ZEDAKER Since social distancing orders due to the coronavirus took eect in mid-March, ocials in Harris and Montgomery counties said the combination of encouraged isolation, coronavirus-related nancial stress- ors and limited shelter space as a gradual increase since the end of February in all categories of family violence,” Harris County Sheri’s Oce Director of Public Aairs Jason Spencer said. “People are conned from their homes, [and] many people “Any time you nd additional stress in the home, typically domestic violence escalates, and this is certainly a stressful time,” Raleigh said. Sheryl Johnson, the director of Northwest Assistance Ministries’ Family Violence Center, said she anticipates domestic violence calls will continue to climb after the stay- at-home orders are lifted.

BY DANICA SMITHWICK

Following the staggered easing of restrictions previously enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott announced at an April 27 press conference that retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls across Texas would be permitted to operate with limited occupancy starting May 1. He also conrmed he will not extend the statewide stay-at-home order slated to expire April 30. State parks reopened April 20 with social distancing stipulations, and Texas retailers were permitted to begin oering to-go services to limit customer interaction April 24. Abbott announced these plans April 17—the same day he said schools statewide would remain closed for the remain- der of the academic year. Abbott said at the April 27 press conference that ocials will continue to monitor state data in May with hopes of implementing the second phase as early as May 18.

are not working or working from home. For the batterer, they are home more, which gives themmore access to the victim.” With social distancing measures, victims have limited resources and safe places to turn to, whichmakes leaving an abuser more risky, said Sarah Raleigh, CEO and president of the Montgomery CountyWomen’s Center.

result of social distancing has created an ideal environment for escalated domestic violence. “All of those things create a petri dish for domestic violence,” said Mai- sha Colter, the CEO of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, a Houston-based organization that provides free legal representation and counseling for survivors of domestic abuse. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Oce reported a 35% increase in domestic violence cases in March compared to March 2019, according to a news release from the DA’s oce. Meanwhile, the Montgomery County Women’s Center saw a 34% increase in the number of hotline calls in that same time: 4,009 in March 2019 compared to about 5,388 in March 2020. “Our call volume has seen a

“Quite frankly, the longer we’re in this scenario and the longer [the vic- tim] is isolated, the more entrenched some of those behaviors are going to become once we go back to ‘normal life,’” she said.

Advocates against domestic violence in Harris and Montgomery counties said domestic crisis calls have increased since social distancing measures were implemented in mid-March. SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CALLS FOR HELP

HARRIS COUNTY

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

JANUARY 2020 1,449 Number of calls related to domestic violence

increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported by county district attorney’s oce from March 2019 to March 2020 35%

1,300

FEBRUARY 2020 MARCH 2020

1,558

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Humble and New Caney ISDs

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Communitymourns death of former Humble ISD superintendent

Brent Engelage to ll board seat HUMBLE ISD The Humble ISD board of trustees appointed a former board member to ll trustee Angela Conrad’s seat at the district’s videoconference school board meeting April 14. After serving roughly seven years on the board as well as one year as board president, Conrad resigned from the school board to move outside of the district. “I think you can honestly lay down tonight and know you left this community better than you found it; you left this board better than you found it,” trustee Robert Sitton said to Conrad. The board unanimously voted to appoint former board member Brent Engelage to ll Conrad’s position rather than hold an election ocials said would be too costly. Engelage, who was on the board from 2008-17, will serve the remain- der of Conrad’s term, which expires in May 2021.

HUMBLE ISD Local ocials and community members are mourning the death of former Humble ISD Superintendent Guy Sconzo, who died April 21 from complications of cancer. Sconzo served as HISD superin- tendent for 15 years from 2001-16. During his time as superintendent, he saw the opening of 14 schools and helped the district manage its rapidly increasing enrollment numbers, according to the district. Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, who served on the board with

Sconzo from 2004-14, said Sconzo was a great collaborator with the school board. “He made you feel better about yourself than you really deserved to feel,” he said. “It was magic—he was magical. And I’m just sick he’s no longer with us.” Most recently, Sconzo served as executive director of the Fast Growth School Coalition, an education advo- cacy group. State Rep. Dan Huberty, RHouston, who also served on the HISD board of trustees from 2006-10

Former Humble ISD Superintendent Guy Sconzo died from cancer April 21.

when Sconzo was superintendent, said via email that Sconzo was a mentor, friend and gentleman. “He made you feel like you were the most important person when engaging you,” Huberty said.

NewCaney, Humble school boardsmake plans for July graduations New Caney ISD ocials announced April 23 a plan to postpone gradua- previously scheduled for May 23. Public Relations Executive Director May 23. The district is considering indoor and outdoor ceremony options.

tion ceremonies for seniors. Graduations for New Caney,

Scott Powers said the ceremony times will remain the same: Porter High School at 9 a.m., Innity Early College High School at noon and New Caney High School at 2 p.m. Humble ISD also announced April 24 that it is planning on postponing graduation until late July, rather than

One option is an indoor gradua- tion at NRG Stadium for most high schools July 25 and a graduation at Humble Civic Center for Quest Early College High School on July 27. If indoor gatherings are not permitted, graduation will be held at Turner Stadium on July 20-25.

Porter and Innity Early College high schools will be rescheduled to July 18 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center at 1865 Aldine Bender, Hous- ton. New Caney ISD’s graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 were

11

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

INSIDE INFORMATION

Learn how to make a mask from household items

COMPILED BY DANICA SMITHWICK

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines in early April regarding the use of face coverings and masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Ocials recommended individuals wear cloth face coverings when in public even when they are not exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. Facing the facts

DO

DON'T

WHY SHOULD I WEAR A MASK? Many coronavirus cases lack symptoms or develop symptoms later on in the diagnosis, so individuals might not know they have or are transmitting the disease. The virus can spread during interactions such as speaking, coughing or sneezing.

• Cover your mouth and nose in public even if you are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or interacting with someone who is experiencing symptoms. • Wash masks in hot water before the rst use and between uses. • Wear a mask when in public places such as grocery stores, at medical appointments and accessing other essential services. • Replace masks when they get damp.

• Use surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these critical supplies should be reserved for health care professionals. • Ignore calls for social distancing of 6 feet between persons. • Forget to wash hands frequently as well as before putting on a mask. • Reuse single-use masks.

HOW TO MAKE A MASK AT HOME Cloth face coverings can be crafted from household items such as fabric, scarves, bandanas, hand towels, T-shirts and rubber bands or hair ties.

STEP 4: Fold fabric to the middle from both sides and tuck the sides in.

STEP 5: Attach each rubber band to either ear, ensuring the mouth and nose are completely covered.

STEP 3: Place a rubber band on each side of the fabric.

STEP 2: Fold fabric to the middle from the top and bottom.

STEP 1: Fold fabric to the middle from the bottom.

CORRECT

6 inches apart

NOT CORRECT

SOURCES: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, HARRIS COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

HoME GRoWN

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12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

BUSINESS FEATURE

MINDFULMOVEMENT Vessel Pilates not only oers Pilates classes, but also four other types of movement classes. During coronavirus closures, the classes are oered via live streaming and/or on-demand recorded classes. BY TREVOR NOLLEY AND KELLY SCHAFLER

“I THINK THE VIRUS IS REALLY GOING TO CHANGE PEOPLE’SMINDSETS ONHOWTHEY VIEWHEALTHAND WELLNESS AND GETTING THEIR MOVEMENT IN.” JESSICA SOWYRDA, OWNER OF VESSEL PILATES

Pilates

works all of the small muscles in the body, while focusing on breathing control and slow movements. Available live and on-demand.

Sowydra streams workouts to clients. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Suspension training

is a full-body exercise using body weight to ow through dierent poses that increase exibility. Available live and on-demand. is a Pilates-based class that uses TRX bands to build up stability muscles and increase coordination. Available on-demand.

Yoga

Vessel Pilates owner Jessica Sowyrda opened the tness center in May 2019, and she switched to oering live, online classes during the coronavirus outbreak. (Trevor Nolley/Community Impact Newspaper)

Sowydra opened the center in 2019. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper)

Vessel Pilates Owner strives to create ‘wellness sanctuary’ despite coronavirus crisis F or Vessel Pilates owner Jessica Sowyrda, the idea of opening a health and wellness center

Rebound and align

is an upbeat exercise that combines yoga, Pilates and ballet by incorporating weights into movements that utilize muscles in an asymmetric manner. Available live and on-demand. releases the body’s connective tissue and muscles by using a foam roller, mixed with cardio through jumping on rebounders. Available on-demand.

Barre

clothing, home products, locally sourced juice and elderberry syrup. While the studio normally oers Pilates, rebound and align, barre, yoga and suspension training classes, stay-at-home orders due to the coro- navirus brought in-person sessions to a halt in mid-March. Instead, the studio began oering live classes every day via Zoom, a videoconfer- encing app, during the outbreak. “I think [the virus] is really going to change people’s mindsets on how they view health and wellness and getting their movement in,” she said. “We just want to keep themmoving whether they’re in the studio or not.” Sowyrda also launched an on- demand video program, where people can subscribe and access pre- recorded workout videos that clients

can follow in the comfort of their homes. Although the videos came from needing to keep her business operating during the virus, Sowyrda said the programs will continue after the studio reopens. Since the studio opened in May 2019, Sowyrda said the sense of community the studio has created has been amazing, with members supporting one another along their journey. Sowyrda said she now feels her studio’s mission to become a one-stop shop for health and wellness services in Kingwood is as important as ever. “It’s been really fun ... seeing everyone let go for even an hour of what’s been going on,” she said. “It’s almost like you’re back in the studio.”

grew out of experiencing rsthand the stress that comes with raising three kids as well as seeing a need for a judgement-free zone for those with busy schedules to get active. “I really wanted to create and cul- tivate a space that people could come in and take care of themselves,” Sowyrda said. “We are a Pilates studio, but we are trying to really bring the community together to have more of a wellness sanctuary.” Sowyrda’s experience as a mother is built right into the studio, with a space for children to play while their parent works out, to a range of small- group tness classes. The center is also home to a boutique stocked with

VESSEL PILATES 21 N. Main St., Kingwood

281-913-5385 • www.vesselpilates.com Class hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-1:30p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-noon, closed Sun.* *Business hours are not applicable during the coronavirus outbreak.

N

W. LAKE HOUSTON PKWY.

MAIN ST.

WE NEED TO SUPPORT THE BEST GOOD CAUSE OF ALL: EACH OTHER. Our city is famous for its Big Houston Heart. But right now, Houston is under attack. It’s a virus. At St. Luke’s Health, we know who’s defending us – the city’s Healthcare teams, EMS, Police, Rescue Workers, and Fire Fighters. And what supports them? It’s our collective commitment to the basics: washing hands, practicing social distancing, and staying home. Simple. But critical.

Because if we don’t take care of the frontline, who’s going to take care of us? Take care of the basics. And show what our Big Houston Heart really can do. ShowUsYourHoustonHeart.org | #ShowUsYourHoustonHeart

13

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

to the Texas Workforce Commission. To provide relief to businesses, President Donald Trump signed another stimulus package into law on April 24, which added $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The U.S. Small Business Administration resumed taking appli- cations on April 27. Sales tax decline Even with some businesses reopen- ing in late April, Humble city ocials anticipate a decline in sales tax reve- nue this year. Although the city of Humble’s sales tax revenue for March—the month when stay-at-home orders began— will not be available until after press time, Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe said he is “dreading” receiving the sales tax numbers. “I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that’s going to look like,” he said. “Anything less than a 30% drop would be considered a good thing.” According to the most recent sales tax data from the Texas comptroller’s oce, the city of Humble collected about $1.23 million in March 2019. A 30% decline would be a more than $368,658 loss for the city. In the scal year 2019-20 budget, the city estimated $13.5 million in sales tax revenue. With the estimated decline, Stuebe said the city’s $3.65 million Rankin Road expansion project—which was set to begin this summer—has been delayed indenitely. With sales tax revenue declining as well as a loss of rebate funds from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s general mobility pro- gram, the economic eect on the city and its business owners will likely be larger than that of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, Stuebe said. “There’s a good portion of the population that just doesn’t have a

job,” Stuebe said. “They’re not going to have disposable income to spend even when things start opening.” A hit on tourism, events As the city of Humble and its busi- ness owners adapt to coronavirus restrictions, many events in the Hum- ble area have also been postponed or canceled by their organizers. As of April 20, the city canceled 48 events at the Humble Civic Center, Director Jennifer Wooden said. She said the city refunded $133,000 worth of event fees. As the area begins to reopen, Wooden said the civic center, the Charles Bender Performing Arts Cen- ter and the Humble Senior Activity Center will likely be the last of the city departments to reopen. However, Wooden said the theater is planning to potentially oer virtual performances this summer. Wooden said the city has not aban- doned ideas of tourism. “We were ... getting people who have businesses in downtown and who have their hearts invested in Humble to come together to cast visions,” she said.

PREPARING FORA BLOW The city of Humble’s sales tax revenue data for March—when the coronavirus hit the region—will not be available until after press time. However, city ocials estimate a considerable drop.

CONTINUED FROM 1

“When is the lion’s share of the con- suming population going to be com- fortable sitting shoulder to shoulder in a movie theater?,” Mitchell said. As the economy begins to restart, some business owners said they are unsure of when they will be able to open, and city sales tax revenues have declined as a result of closures. Ocials said they believe events and tourism, which have also decreased during the virus, will likely be the last to return. Businesses remain closed Before Abbott’s April 27 executive orders, restaurantswere oering take- out and delivery. Businesses includ- ing restaurants and retail were able to reopen with limited occupancy May 1, but some still cannot open, according to Abbott's order. Green Oaks Tavern, a bar that fea- tures live music in downtown Hum- ble, has been closed since mid-March due to the restrictions. Co-owner Debbie Bixby said the closure has been hard on her employees and the musicians she hired nightly to per- form at the tavern. “We just have to strategize and g- ure out how to stay here until we can open again,” she said. Meanwhile, Hairgoals Club owner Barbara Lane-Snowden said she will not be able to reopen her downtown Humble business until a vaccine is developed, as her wig shop caters to groups at high risk for the virus, including cancer and lupus patients and the elderly. “I can’t consciously allow these ladies to come in, and they’re trying on the wigs,” she said. As of April 25, 1.7 million people had led unemployment claims in Texas since mid-February, according

FEBRUARY

MARCH

2019 VS. 2020 SALES TAX REVENUE

2017

$0.93 million $1.2 million

2018

$1.05 million $1.26 million

2019

$0.98 million $1.23 million

2020

$0.96 million

PERCENT OF FY 201920 GENERAL FUND COMPRISED OF SALES TAX 43.4%

“ANYTHING LESS THAN A 30%DROPWOULDBE CONSIDEREDAGOOD THING.” JASON STUEBE, HUMBLE CITY MANAGER, ON THE EFFECT OF THE CORONAVIRUS ON SALES TAX REVENUE

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

PROJECT ONHOLD With the city of Humble anticipating less sales tax revenue, ocials are putting the Rankin Road expansion project on temporary hold. Scope: expand the road from two to four lanes between the Union Pacic Corp. railroad and Houston Avenue Original timeline: summer 2020-late 2021

N

59

ATASCOCITA RD.

New timeline: TBD Cost: $3.65 million

SOURCES: TEXAS COMPTROLLER, CITY OF HUMBLE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

KELLY SCHAFLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

WHEN You ORDER Online or on OUR Mobile app before 5pm * Delivered Same day Liquor &Wine

We encourage you to order online or download our mobile ap� for quick and easy delivery or in-store pick up.

twinliquors.com

*Some restrictions apply. You must be 21+ to shop and order online, receive delivery, or pick up in store. All deliveries require in-person verification of a legal photo ID at point of delivery. Orders will NOT be left unattended. Limited delivery area and pick up only available at select locations. All in-store promotions and pricing do not apply to online orders. Exclusions apply. Please drink responsibly.

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

A TRAVEL TAILSPIN Airport and hospitality industry ocials said the coronavirus has greatly aected the Greater Houston area’s tourism industry, which largely relies on hotels and the local airports.

The hospitality industry surrounding the airport has struggled during the coronavirus due to a decline in airport activity as well as concerts and events across the region being canceled. HOSPITALITY HINDERED

March 31-April 20, 2019 Hotel occupancy rates

The George Bush Intercontinental Airport saw 1.36 million fewer passengers in March than February due to the coronavirus. FEWER FLYERS

69.9%

Dec. 2019: 4.05M passengers

March 29-April 18, 2020

Oct. 2019: 3.79M passengers

Jan. 2020: 3.66M passengers

Nov. 2019: 3.64M passengers

5,000,000

32.3%

Feb. 2020: 3.37M passengers

A HELPINGHAND

4,000,000

March 2020: 2.01M passengers

The Houston Airport System has received funding through the federal government, while airlines and concession companies entered an agreement with the city of Houston to defer some payments to the airport system until June 30.

3,000,000

49.12% decline from March 2019.

2,000,000

1,000,000

$75.5 MILLION Airline, concessions and rental car companies can defer

$200.22 from the CARES Act MILLION

0

EMILY HEINEMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SOURCES: CITY OF HOUSTON, HOUSTON AIRPORT SYSTEM, STRCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

in payments to HAS

Hotel economy The hotel industry has also been aected by the decline of passengers at Houston-area airports. Hotels in Harris County had an average occupancy rate of 23.2% between March 29-April 18, according to data from STR, a hospitality indus- try analytics company. Compared to a similar data range in 2019, when Har- ris County hotels averaged a 66.9% occupancy, this represents a decrease of 43.7% from year to year. Moreover, STR data shows the IAH submarket, which includes two Humble-area ZIP codes, dropped from an average occupancy of 69.9% to 32.3% in the same time period. Staybridge Suites IAH Airport East, which is in the airport submar- ket, has seen a signicant decline in guests since the coronavirus hit the region, General Manager Donald Thorsen said. He said his new hotel was estimated to have an almost 50% occupancy in March, as the hotel just opened in late January in Humble. Instead, the hotel dipped to a 27% occupancy rate in March—and Thorsen said he expects the month of April to be even lower. In April, Thorsen said his 106-room hotel had only 10-20 rooms occupied daily. “We were just starting to ramp up, and then the coronavirus hit,” he said. “It’s been a struggle to keep open

general operations and debt service at IAH and Hobby, Bernal said. “The money received from the CARES Act is a replacement of what we would have received so that the airports continue business and remain operational,” he said. Additionally, Houston City Council unanimously approved a measure April 15 allowing certain payments to the airport systemfromairlines, rental car companies and concessionaires, such as airport restaurants and shops, to be deferred until June 30. The agreement also waived certain concession and rental car company payments until Dec. 31, 2021. However, with the airport system receiving funds from the CARES Act, there is a possibility deferred concession and rental car payments could be waived by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the city of Houston agreement. Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis, whose district includes the airport, said at the April 15 meeting he was glad the city was able to come to an agreement. “If we don’t have that travel to our city, we’re going to suer even more with jobs,” Davis said. While the long-term eects of the virus on the airport system are not yet clear, Bernal said HAS is ready to meet the community’s travel needs.

CONTINUED FROM 1

between February and March, from 3.37 million to 2 million, per HAS data. The airport also took a nearly 49.13% decline in March passengers from the same time last year; 3.95 million pas- sengers traveled through the airport in March 2019. “The reduction in passenger traf- c not only aects airfare. It also cuts into our concessionaires and rental car companies that lose busi- ness,” HAS Public Information Ocer Augusto Bernal said via email. Through funding made available by the city of Houston as well as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed into law March 27, the HAS—which has about 1,100 employees—and the hospitality industry are working to stay aoat. Financial help The nancial distress airports are experiencing will be mitigated in part by multimillion-dollar grants both IAH and the William B. Hobby Air- port in southeast Houston are set to receive from the CARES Act. The U.S. Department of Transpor- tation granted $149.19 million to IAH, $50.87 million to Hobby and $157,000 to Ellington Airport, which is a non- commercial airport also operated by HAS. The grant funds will be used for

because of this.” The hotel’s demographic includes mostly airport travelers as well as guests attending events at the nearby Humble Civic Center, which closed in mid-March due to county and state restrictions on public gatherings. However, Thorsen said the hotel received a Paycheck Protection Pro- gram loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which has helped the hotel hire back several employees and stay open during the pandemic. Jan Freitag, senior vice president of STR, said while hotel occupancy globally is “dismal,” there may be hope on the horizon for the U.S. The country’s hotel occupancy rate has not yet dropped below 10% as China’s did at a similar point in their coronavirus response, Freitag said. “What gives us hope is that it hasn’t happened yet, and we would have expected it to [drop below 10%] by now,” he said. “It is possible there’s a certain base of demand that seems to not go away: airline crews, people in transition or in between houses [and] rst responders.”

Find related stories at communityimpact.com . Keyword search coronavirus, travel

15

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • MAY 2020

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