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VOLUME 14, ISSUE 7 MARCH 3APRIL 6, 2023
WATER RATES LOWERING LOCAL Two regional water authorities exist to secure reliable wholesale drinking water for northwest Harris County. KEY North Harris County Regional Water Authority West Harris County Regional Water Authority “WE ARE LASERFOCUSED ON TRYING TO SAVE MONEY EVERY OPPORTUNITY WE CAN ON THESE WATER BILLS.” MARK RAMSEY, NHCRWA BOARD PRESIDENT
The NHCRWA lowered water fees for the rst time in its history, eective Feb. 1. The NHCRWA and WHCRWA typically increase water rates every year or two.
First Metropolitan Senior Apartments breaks ground
Lone Star College- CyFair enrollment up this spring
SOURCES: NORTH HARRIS COUNTY REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITY, WEST HARRIS COUNTY REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NHCRWA board approves historic water rate drop
BY CASSANDRA JENKINS
members who ran against incumbents in November cam- paigned to hold water rates constant, but after nding a $30 million surplus in the operating budget later in Janu- ary, the board decided to reduce the rates by an amount it believes is sustainable. Both surface water and groundwater rates were reduced by $0.50 per 1,000 gallons. Surface water rates dropped from $5.05 to $4.55, and the groundwater pumpage fee went from $4.60 to $4.10 per 1,000 gallons. “The reserves that were in several dierent accounts
The North Harris County Regional Water Authority has seen a change in leadership and lowering of water rates since last fall—two historic moves for the authority. In late 2022, candidates Mark Ramsey, David Barker and Melissa Rowell unseated three long-term incum- bents during the Nov. 8 election. In early 2023, the new board then voted to lower water rates for the rst time in the authority’s 22-year history. The rate decrease went into eect Feb. 1. Ramsey, the president of the board, said the board
CAMP GUIDE 2023
CONTINUED ON 27
Local summer camps
New library policies are in eect in Cy-Fair ISD to give parents more transparency while ensur- ing students have access to age- appropriate reading materials. The policy approved in August required educators to categorize many of the district’s 1.5 million library books plus the books avail- able in over 13,000 classrooms, so the board approved a Jan. 17 imple- mentation date. These updates come at a time when some vocal community members CONTINUED ON 28 New Cy-Fair ISD library policy increases transparency BY DANICA LLOYD
Book challenges by local parents have spiked in 2022-23 with review requests citing age- inappropriate material.
BOOK CHALLENGES RISE IN CY-FAIR ISD
books have been challenged since 2019- 20 across 57 requests. 18
students have been opted in to higher-level books by their parents in 2022-23. 3,248
students have been opted out of CFISD library access by their parents in 2022-23. 65
Punta Cana brings Caribbean fare to Houston
Pull the newest teaser from CC Libraries
WERE REMOVED FROM SCHOOL LIBRARIES NATIONWIDE IN 2021-22. 2,532 BOOKS
801 ACROSS TEXAS
566 ACROSS FLORIDA
457 IN PENNSYLVANIA
of those books had themes of race and racism or prominent characters of color. 40%
of those books had LGBTQ themes or prominent LGBTQ characters.
SOURCES: CYFAIR ISD, PEN AMERICA, TEXAS LEGISLATURE, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON’S HOBBY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSCOMMUNITY IMPACT
Home Improvement Ideas and Inspiration!
Charity Garage Sale by the GHBA Remodeler’s Council Buy home improvement items at tremendous discounts! Ultimate Pantry Makeover, Register to Win! Valued at $2000 by Cure the Chaos Live Broadcast by Tom Tynan of HomeShow Radio Design and Organizing Speakers: Diane Cowen , Houston Chronicle , Architecture + Design Writer Reagan Phillips , Professional Organizer
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Feature Exhibits— B&A Tree Farms, Outdoor Perfection, Sergio’s Landscaping
Glow Scapes by Lone Star Lighting and Audio
Harris County Master Gardener Plant Sale — Save big on gardening plants! DIY workshops FREE to attendees by AR Workshop Cypress Food Trucks — and more!
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THERE’S A BETTER APPROACH TO CANCER CARE in Northwest Houston
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CY-FAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
NEW HOMES FROM THE $290s
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Homes within Bridgeland are constructed and sold by builders not affiliated with The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) or any of its affiliates, companies or partnerships. Neither HHC nor any of its affiliated companies or partnerships guarantees or warrants the obligations of, or construction by, such builders. Prices and specifications subject to change.
MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Kathie Snyder EDITOR Danica Lloyd GRAPHIC DESIGNER Taylor White ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Rebecca Robertson METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens COPY EDITOR Adrian Gandara ART PRODUCTION MANAGER Ethan Pham CONTACT US 16300 Northwest Freeway Jersey Village, TX 77040 • 2814696181 CI CAREERS communityimpact.com/careers PRESS RELEASES email@example.com ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org Learn more at communityimpact.com/advertising EMAIL NEWSLETTERS communityimpact.com/newsletter SUPPORT US Join your neighbors by giving to the CI Patron program. Funds support our journalistic mission to provide trusted, local news in your community. Learn more at communityimpact.com/cipatron Community Impact in 2005, and the company is still locally owned today. We have expanded to include hundreds of team members and have created our own software platform and printing facility. CI delivers 35+ localized editions across Texas to more than 2.5 million residential mailboxes. ABOUT US Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS MONTH
FROM KATHIE: Spring is in the air! I love this time of the year. The weather begins to get back to normal, and there are festivals and outdoor things to do everywhere. This month we bring you our annual Summer Camp Guide (see Page 18). Utilize this guide to nd your kiddos a fun place to spend some time this summer. And as always, please check out our advertisers and be sure to show your love for our local businesses. Kathie Snyder, GENERAL MANAGER
FROM DANICA: Access to library materials has certainly been a hot topic among Cy-Fair parents, school board members, educators and lawmakers in recent months. See Page 28 to learn more about recent library policy updates in Cy-Fair ISD, which books are being challenged and how education policy experts believe diverse literature benets students. Danica Lloyd, EDITOR
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10th annual superintendent’s fun run REGISTER NOW Registration opens Friday, January 20 and closes March 10.
Entry Fees: 5K : Adult $25, Student $20 (includes shirt & chip) 1 MILE : Adult $25, Student $20 (includes shirt) SLEEP IN : Adult $10, Student $5
CONDENSED WIDE - WHITE
Opportunity for All.
April 1, 2023
Info at CFISD.net/funrun
CYFAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding
G R A N T R
L O U E T T A
VINTAGE PARK BLVD.
Crust Pizza Co.
COURTESY CRUST PIZZA CO.
5 Tacos El Patron opened at 12303 N. Eldridge Parkway, Cypress, on Dec. 2. This family-owned restaurant serves au- thentic Mexican food and has two other locations in California. 281-653-9555. www.tacoselpatrontexas.com 6 K Tea Boba opened at 10978 Grant Road, Houston, in late January. This teahouse offers a variety of Korean cuisine, such as Korean wings, corn dogs, banh mi sandwiches and popcorn chicken, as well as a variety of boba tea flavors. 832-688-8082 7 Loaded Daiquiris To Go opened Dec. 16 at 17175 Hwy. 249, Ste. 5C2, Houston, and is owned by the Sanders family. The store sells frozen and on-the-rocks daiquiris in various flavors, such as peach, mango, pina colada, Hypnotic, Hurricane and Texas Rita. Drinks are available in 16- to 44-ounce sizes as well as half and whole gallons. 832-843-3892 8 Le Macaron opened a new kiosk at Willowbrook Mall in late 2022, according to mall management. The business serves French macarons in 20 flavors as well as other treats, such as coffee, chocolates and pastries. Willowbrook Mall is located at 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston. www.lemacaron-us.com 9 Just 4 Him , a men’s haircut business, opened Jan. 30 at 22625 Hwy. 249, Tomball, co-owner Katie Pearson said via email. Just 4 Him offers a variety of barber services, such as haircuts, waxing, shaving and general grooming needs,
HOUSE & HAHL RD.
8 16 17
N. BRIDGELAND LAKE PKWY.
N . H O U S T
R E S S
MAP NOT TO SCALE
N TM; © 2023 COMMUNITY IMPACT CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
NOW OPEN 1 Hopdoddy Burger Bar opened its eighth Houston-area location Feb. 20 at 9945 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 129, Cypress, at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake. The eatery’s menu features several burgers as well as specialty sandwiches, salads, burger bowls, fried chicken, fries and shakes. Hopdoddy’s bar serves wine, beer and cocktails. 281-251-2337. www.hopdoddy.com 2 A new location of Purple Dragon , an international martial arts dojo, celebrated
a grand opening of its 17505 Telge Road, Ste. 103, Cypress, location Feb. 18. Shihan Liselle Griffith operates the Texas branch. Dragon classes are available for children and adults, and cardio kickboxing and self-defense classes are also offered. www.purpledragontexas.com 3 Crust Pizza Co. opened a new location Feb. 15 at 8940 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 110, Cypress, with a menu of Chicago-style thin-crust pizzas, calzones, pastas, salads, hot subs and desserts. The eatery touts weekday specials such as free kids meals on Tuesdays, half-price
wine on Wednesdays and a two-for-$9 lunch special on weekdays. 281-301-0551. www.crustpizzaco.com 4 Officials with the Howard Hughes Corp. confirmed a new location of The Goddard School opened Feb. 6 at 21722 Tuckerton Road, Cypress, in Bridge- land. The early childhood education center spans 10,800 square feet and serves up to 200 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years, according to a news release. The facility features 10 classrooms, an indoor gym and a custom aquarium. 281-671-8200. www.goddardschool.com
Pearson said. 832-559-8030. www.just4himhaircuts.com
10 Adams Automotive opened its doors at 11530 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress, in December. This family-owned business of-
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The Learning Experience
First Metropolitan Senior Apartments
COURTESY FIRST METROPOLITAN CHURCH
COURTESY THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
15 Officials with The Learning Experi- ence announced a new location is coming soon to 8630 Jones Road, Jersey Village. The center will serve around 180 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years and staff about 30 employees, according to a news release. Slated to open in the third quarter of 2024, the project scope includes a new 10,000-square-foot facility and an out- door playground. www.thelearningexperience.com 16 Garage , a Montreal-based women’s clothing brand, will be opening a new store in Willowbrook Mall, 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston, according to mall management. Fashion items, such as clothing, jewelry, shoes and purses, are sold at Garage stores na- tionwide. The store will open in the third quarter of this year. www.garageclothing.com 17 Moissy Fine Jewelry will be opening in Willowbrook Mall during the second quarter of this year, mall management confirmed. The store specializes in mois- sanite fine jewelry and has locations in Houston, Arizona and Ontario, according to the Moissy Fine Jewelry website. Willowbrook Mall is located at 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston. www.moissyfinejewelry.com 18 A new TCBY frozen yogurt location is estimated to open by the end of March at 12149 FM 1960 W., Ste. E, Houston. TCBY has over 250 franchise locations world- wide with a wide variety of flavors, includ- ing low-fat, nonfat and no-sugar-added options. 646-932-8940. www.tcby.com
fers automotive services, such as oil chang- es, engine repairs, transmission repairs, tire services, brake repairs, and steering and suspension repairs. 281-385-9361. www.adamsautomotivecypress.com 11 Jamaica Paradise Kitchen opened in late 2022 at 14710 Mueschke Road, Ste. 600, Cypress. The restaurant offers Jamaican cuisine, including curry chicken, oxtail, mango jerk shrimp, paradise chick- en and lunch specials. 281-758-5206 12 Milano Nails Spa opened Feb. 19 at 14119 Grant Road, Ste. 150, Cypress. Professional technicians provide mani- cures, pedicures, acrylics and other nail services. This spa also provides custom- ers with a 10-day guarantee policy to fix chipped, cracked or broken nails within 10 days of service. 346-762-5434. www.milanonailspagrant.com 13 Province 8 Art Studio opened in late 2022 at 17037 FM 529, Houston, owner Ezra H. Bailey said via email. The art stu- dio and gallery space offers commissions, original paintings, high-quality prints and other merchandise. The business also offers studio space, time and materials for local artists. www.province8artstudio.com/houston COMING SOON 14 First Metropolitan Senior Apart- ments broke ground Feb. 2 at 8870 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston, on the same property as First Metropolitan Church, and is expected to open in 2024. The $43 million project will feature 157 one- and two-bedroom units—85 of which will be dedicated to low-income seniors. www.myfirstmet.com
P & N Machine Co. serves the oil and gas, medical, and aerospace/defense industries with its range of manufacturing equipment.
COURTESY P & N MACHINE CO.
FEATURED IMPACT ANNIVERSARY P & N Machine Co. is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the Cy-Fair area this year. Located at 12450 Windfern Road, Houston, the business has served clients in the oil and gas, medical, and aerospace/defense industries with its range of manufacturing equipment including over 40 CNC machines that produce turnkey products. “P & N Machine Company, Inc. was started by Pat Napier in 1973 with nothing more than one manual machine and his determination to grow and succeed,” ocials said in a news release. “Through the years, P & N Machine have endured many challenges and obstacles, including recessions and downturns. However, Pat’s hard work and dedication RELOCATIONS 19 Center Court Pizza & Brew moved from 138 Vintage Park Blvd., Bldg. F, Ste. L, Houston, and reopened Jan. 18 at 110 Vintage Park Blvd., Ste. Q, Houston. The eatery’s menu features hand-tossed pizzas, pizza rolls, calzones, flatbread pizzas, sliders, pasta, wings and salads. The pizzeria also boasts a full bar with
to P & N Machine have paid o.” The company has 67 employees and is planning a 25,000-square-foot expansion. The business also gives back to the community through charitable donations, sponsorships and quarterly blood drives. 281-469-9140. www.pandnmachine.com
20 Victoria Cosmetology Academy is planning to relocate to the Willowbrook Plaza, 17355 Hwy. 249, Ste. 435, Houston. Previously Victoria Cosmetology School, the academy offers cosmetology and nail technician courses. While the school does not have a set opening date as of press time, the owners are hoping to open around March. Victoria Cosmetolo- gy Academy is moving from its location at 9815 Bammel North Houston Road, Houston. 281-260-9954
craft beer. 832-761-7806. www.centercourtpizza.com
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CY-FAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
EXCEPTIONAL, CONNECTED CARE. CLOSER THAN EVER.
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Scan to schedule your appointment or call 713-442-8578
COMPILED BY JOVANNA AGUILAR
CYFAIR HOME & OUTDOOR LIVING SHOW BERRY CENTER
SALUTE TO THE STARS BERRY CENTER
SUPERINTENDENT’S FUN RUN BERRY CENTER
The Cy-Fair Educational Foundation is recognizing 97 Cy-Fair ISD Teacher of the Year honorees. The gala will include dinner, entertainment, a bid board, rae and drawings for honorees, including a car giveaway. 7 p.m. $75-$7,500 (sponsorship opportunities). 8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. 281-370-0144. www.berrycenter.net (Courtesy Cy-Fair Educational Foundation)
The 16th annual Cy-Fair Home & Outdoor Living Show features special guest appearances and over 100 exhibitors with the latest products and services on the market for anyone interested in home improvement. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun.). $8 (online), $10 (at door). 8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. 832-274-3944. www.texwoodshows.com (Courtesy Cy-Fair Home & Outdoor Living Show)
The Cy-Fair Educational Foundation is holding the 10th annual Superintendent’s Fun Run for Cy-Fair ISD sta, students and community members. The yearly event raises money for the CFEF, which provides scholarships for further education to graduating high school seniors. 8-11 a.m. $25 (nonstudents), $20 (students). 8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. www.csd.net/funrun (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
DJs, caterers, photo booths and designers. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston. 281-890-5500. www.tradersvillage.com 29 HELP A MENTAL HEALTH CAUSE AND PLAY GOLF Shield Bearer is holding its third annual Heroes Golf Classic event to raise awareness about mental health and to break the negative stigma surrounding counseling. This is also a fundraising event in which players and sponsors can help the local nonprot raise money for those who cannot aord counseling. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. $125 (per player), $500 (per team). Gleannloch Pines Golf Course, 19393 Champion Forest Drive, Houston. 281-894-7222. www.shieldbearer.org 31 THROUGH APRIL 23 SEE A MUSICAL Stageworks Theatre is presenting “Urinetown,” a musical produced on Broadway about greed, love and revolution. 7:30 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.), 3 p.m. (Sun.). $27-$39.75. Stageworks Theatre Garza Mainstage, 10760 Grant Road, Houston. 281-587-6100. www.stageworkshouston.org
MARCH 03 CELEBRATE THE RODEO WITH FROST Frost Bank is hosting a Chuck Wagon breakfast and lunch to celebrate the return of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an annual tradition for the local bank branch. There will also be a ddler performing live music. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free. Frost Bank, 10420 Louetta Road, Houston. 210-569-6906. www.frostbank.com 04 THROUGH 5 GET A BARGAIN AT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST GARAGE SALE West Houston Church of Christ is holding a garage sale to sell the merchandise donated and collected by members of the church throughout the year. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Free (admission), $5 (parking). Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston. 281-890-5500. www.tradersvillage.com 11 THROUGH 12 STOP BY AN AUTO SWAP MEET Jason Earhart Productions presents the
33rd annual Traders Village Houston Auto Swap Meet. This event is designed for anyone interested in meeting hundreds of dealers on hand with car parts and accessories, including tires, wheels, grills and automobile deals. 8 a.m. Free (admission), $5 (parking). Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston. 281-890-5500. www.tradersvillage.com 13 THROUGH 16 SIGN UP FOR A SPRING BREAK SPORTS CAMP The National Academy of Athletics is holding a spring break camp for young athletes. This is a multisport camp to introduce kids to a variety of sports including baseball, basketball, dodgeball, soccer, ag football, capture the ag, ultimate Frisbee, relay and obstacle races. 9 a.m.-noon. $159. Clark Henry Park, Equador Street, Jersey Village. www.nationalacademyofathletics.com 22 JOIN A GOLF TOURNAMENT FOR CHARITY The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce is holding the annual Adam J. Skinner Golf Tournament to benet the Adam J. Skinner Memorial Scholarship of
the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation. This scholarship is available to any eligible Cy-Fair ISD graduating student. 10:30 a.m. (registration and breakfast), noon (scramble-shotgun start), 5 p.m. (awards dinner). $10-$5,000. Blackhorse Golf Club, 12205 Fry Road, Cypress. 281-684-4612. www.cyfairchamber.com 25 PARTICIPATE IN A COMMUNITY CHILI COOKOFF Costello Safety Consulting is holding its second annual Community Safety Day. The day will be packed with family- friendly activities from re trucks, bounce houses, face painting, a chili cooko, auctions, prizes and giveaways. Proceeds from the event will benet the Harris County Sheri’s Oce Foundation. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. The MET Church, 13000 Jones Road, Houston. 832-786-8814. www.costellohse.com 26 ATTEND A QUINCEAÑERA EXPO Traders Village will be holding a quinceañera expo, an event dedicated to organizing that special date. This event is an opportunity to nd the right vendors, reception halls, photographers, videographers, dresses, choreographers,
Find more or submit Cy-Fair 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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CYFAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
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Harris County authorizes 10% toll rate cut, free EZ tags A Harris County Toll Road Authority program that will reduce the cost of tolls by 10% was approved unanimously by Harris County commissioners Jan. 31. EASING THE BURDEN The 10% toll rate discount—which will go into effect by Sept. 4—will apply to motorists driving two-axle vehicles on toll roads managed by the Harris County Toll Road Authority.
CYPRESS N. HOUSTON RD.
The discount will represent $894 million in discounts over the course of 10 years, or about $90 million in savings per year, Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said Jan. 31. “This gives us confidence in what the [Harris County] Toll Road Authority’s doing,” Ramsey said. “When you look at the consistent revenues that they generate, when you look at their ability to cover what they do—I think we are, in many ways, an envy of the state in terms of how well we run our toll road authority.” The rate reduction will go into effect by Sept. 4. HCTRA will also provide up to eight free EZ tags per household as part of the program. The proposal was initially presented at a Jan. 24 news conference. HCTRA Director Roberto Treviño said the 10% discount would apply to those driving two-axle vehicles, which he said make up 95% of HCTRA’s transactions. He added that drivers can choose to apply the discount on each individual transaction or after aggregating transactions on a monthly basis. As part of the transition to all-electronic tollways, the county will also be phasing in several options for residents to obtain EZ tags at retail stores, open cash- backed accounts and pay at EZ TAG retail stores, Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said during the
HCTRA toll roads
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF FEB. 8. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CYFNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. neighborhood will soon see a project designed to improve roadway surfaces and drainage. Affected streets will in- clude Oak Plaza Drive, King Circle, Carla Way, Chavile, Lynn Haven Street and Oak Plaza Drive. During construction, residents will see daily lane closures and temporary one-way operations. Timeline: Construction to begin in third quarter Cost: $12 million Funding source: Harris County Precinct 3 Tower Oaks Plaza asphalt, drainage improvement According to Harris County Precinct 3 officials, the Tower Oaks Plaza
SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY TOLL ROAD AUTHORITY/COMMUNITY IMPACT
Jan. 24 news conference. In response to a question at the Jan. 24 news
conference about losing 10% of revenue from 95% of the customer base, Treviño said the population growth in the region will correspond to increased demand and use of the toll road systems. Rachel Carlton contributed to this report.
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CY-FAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
COMMUNITY Cy-Fair congregations opt to disaliate from the United Methodist Church
Several Methodist congregations meet weekly in the Cy-Fair area. LOCAL METHODIST CHURCHES
United Methodist Church Global Methodist Church Independent CHURCH AFFILIATION
BY DANICA LLOYD
Ray Hughes, the denomination’s longstanding church laws state clergy cannot be practicing homosexuals. Ocials with The Foundry did not respond to a request for an interview. “What we’re talking about here is not just fundamentally can we disagree doctrinally, but this is a breakdown of discipline,” Hughes said during a Sept. 18 Q&A posted on YouTube. “If we agree as a church that there are certain ways of life and certain things that we believe, then when people disagree with those, … at a high level, they should not be in church leadership or they should be disciplined.” According to the UMC’s website, the denomination’s position on homosex- uality has been debated since 1972— just four years after the denomination was created. The GMC “believe[s] that human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be armed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman,” its website states. A new UMC congregation When Godfrey Hubert—who served as senior pastor of The Foundry from 1984-2018—realized Cy-Fair residents who wanted to stay within the UMC had few options, he helped coordinate a new faith com- munity. Cy-Fair United Methodists met for their rst worship service in November at the Cypress Alamo. Shuler Sitsch served as an associate pastor for Lakewood United Meth- odist Church from mid-2018 through November and chose not to leave the UMC. He said he hoped the denom- ination would nd common ground and ensure unity in the denomina- tion despite disagreements, but over the last year he accepted that would not be the case. “The writing has been on the wall for a long time in the United Meth- odist Church that something like this was going to come to pass with the disaliation—with what people are calling a ‘split,’” he said. Sitsch was reappointed to lead the Cy-Fair United Methodists, which he said is expected to be chartered this spring. He said the rst couple of
Several Cy-Fair churches voted to leave their denomination last fall as progressive and traditionalist members of the United Methodist Church reached an impasse, local faith leaders said. “The United Methodist Church is theologically very broad, and over the years it’s become more and more broad theologically. It’s so large now that orthodox Christian faith is becoming less and less a prevailing voice within the United Methodist Church,” said Heather Sims, lead pas- tor at Cornerstone Methodist Church. About 82% of this congregation voted to leave the UMC and join the Global Methodist Church, which launched in May. Sims said this denomination is the closest to the UMC while still adhering to core Christian beliefs and is less bureau- cratic, allowing local congregations more power to make decisions. Per regulations set by the UMC’s Texas Annual Conference, congrega- tions needed a two-thirds majority vote in favor of either remaining in the denomination or disaliating. Sims said the denomination has been heading toward a “peaceful sepa- ration” to a more progressive and a more traditional Methodist church for years, but when the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans until 2024, the GMC chose to launch early. Denominational decisions Along with Cornerstone, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Lakewood United Methodist Church and Cypress United Methodist Church all voted to disaliate from the UMC and join the GMC. Meanwhile, The Foundry Church voted to leave the UMC and join a network of independently governed churches, and Bear Creek United Methodist Church remained with the UMC. Local Methodist leaders said the division was driven by UMC lead- ership’s lack of accountability for clergy to follow the denomination’s discipline. For instance, in 2016, Karen Oliveto was the rst openly lesbian bishop to be elected to the UMC. But according to The Foundry Lead Pastor
KEITH HARROW BLVD.
R I P P L I N G
1 BEAR CREEK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 16000 Rippling Water Drive, Houston www.bearcreekumc.org Sunday services: 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. 2 CORNERSTONE METHODIST CHURCH
6 GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH 20155 Cypresswood Drive, Cypress www.goodchurch.us Sunday services: 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. 5 FOUNDRY CHURCH A 8350 Jones Road, Houston B 10203 Fry Road, Cypress www.foundrychurch.org Sunday services: 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
18081 West Road, Houston www.cornerstonegmc.org Sunday services: 10:30 a.m.
3 CYFAIR UNITED METHODISTS 10800 Mills Road, Houston www.facebook.com/ cyfairunitedmethodists Sunday services: 10:30 a.m. 4 CYPRESS METHODIST CHURCH 13403 Cypress N. Houston Road, Cypress www.cypressmc.org Sunday services: 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. months in this role have consisted of helping attendees navigate the griev- ing process after leaving churches some had attended for decades. “While they were in the minority of people in their previous church that didn’t want to disaliate, there was still a large number of people who were going through the same experiences that they were in that pain and that hurt,” Sitsch said. In addition to the grief process, Sitsch also helped identify what his congregation loved about their former churches to incorporate those elements—children’s ministry, student
7 LAKEWOOD METHODIST CHURCH
11330 Louetta Road, Houston www.lakewoodmethodist.org Sunday services: 9:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.
SOURCES: VARIOUS LOCAL METHODIST CHURCHESCOMMUNITY IMPACT
ministry and helping meet the needs of the community with hospital visits, prayer and food drives. By January, the group averaged about 200 attendees each Sunday and outgrew the Cypress Alamo space. It relocated to Bleyl Middle School starting Feb. 5. “We also want to be a group of people where, from the moment that you walk in our doors or the moment that you park your car at our worship service, you feel like you can belong here—regardless of who you are, what you believe, where you’ve been, what you’ve done,” he said.
CYFAIR EDITION • MARCH 2023
New model homes now open daily. Brookfield Residential is now in Houston, with fresh floor plans designed for the way you live. We might be new to the area, but we’re the 5th largest real estate developer in North America, and we’ve been in the Lone Star State for years, building homes with lumber, brick, heart, and soul. There are 14 floor plans to choose from, ranging from 3 – 5 bedrooms and 2.5 – 4 baths. Each was designed with the perfect blend of style and practicality; you’ll find grand entries, open living areas, and thoughtful details designed for the way you live. Come home to Elyson. Located in the heart of Katy, Elyson is the newest master-planned community by the same team that brought you Cinco Ranch and Seven Meadows. You’ll find miles of trails and parks, a gorgeous pool and cafe, tennis courts, and an onsite elementary school in the highly-sought-after Katy ISD. Houston, We’re Home!
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EDUCATION Lone Star College sees enrollment increase 3% with online campus
RISING ENROLLMENT OVERALL Lone Star College System recorded a 3% bump in spring enrollment in 2023, although some campuses enrolled fewer students year over year.
Spring 2022 Spring 2023
BY CASSANDRA JENKINS
face-to-face instruction.” According to the release, last
0 10K 20K 70K 80K 90K
The Lone Star College System expe- rienced a 3% increase in enrollment this spring compared to spring 2022, the college system announced Feb. 2. According to a news release, enroll- ment climbed from 78,463 students to 80,595 students year over year. However, according to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment in most Texas community colleges fell 1.7% from 2020 to 2021. Nationally, enroll- ment dropped 7.8%. LSCS Chancellor Stephen Head said despite the decrease nationally, he is pleased to see LSCS’s enroll- ment increasing. “Whether a person is interested in academic transfer programs or workforce training, Lone Star College is ready to help them be successful,” he said in the release. “We are also seeing more students choosing
semester saw 42% of LSCS students participating in traditional face-to-face classes compared to 34% in the spring 2022 semester. “Lone Star College faculty, staff and administrators remain committed to providing high-quality education, whether a student chooses in-person, online or a combination of the two,” Head said. The LSC-CyFair campus saw one of the largest increases in spring enrollment, data shows. According to an analytics and institutional report on the LSCS website, spring enrollment jumped from 20,220 to 20,643 year over year for the campus. LSC-CyFair is the largest campus in the community college system, according to system data. About 27% of students enrolled at this campus were receiving financial aid as of the
LSC- Tomball -9.3%
Lone Star College System
LSC- University Park
LSC- North Harris
SOURCE: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM/COMMUNITY IMPACT
fall semester. Comparatively, LSC-Kingwood saw 33 more students enroll this spring year over year. Enrollment decreased year over year at the other five campuses—Montgomery, North Harris, University Park, Tomball and Houston North. However, the launch of LSCS’s eighth campus, LSC-Online, boosted spring enrollment with 4,291 students, the report shows. LSC-Online offers
dozens of fully online programs, including academic transfer degrees as well as credentials in accounting, administrative services, computer programming, mobile and web appli- cation development, logistics manage- ment, health information technology and teaching certifications. A virtual informational meeting about the online campus is scheduled for March 10 at 6 p.m. To learn more, visit www.lonestar.edu.
THE FACTORY SALON � AN AVEDA SALON WE ARE MERGING!
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DEAR FACTORY SALON CUSTOMERS, We are excited to announce that we are merging our original Salons at Stonegate location with our two other Cypress locations to provide you with an ever better salon experience. Effective February 20th, 2023, our Salons at Stonegate location will be permanently closed. All services and staff will be moved to our BlackHorse or Fairfield locations which will remain open and fully operational. If you have an appointment scheduled we will be in touch to confirm your stylists location. Thank you for your continued support. Stay tuned for our new third location which will be opening soon. BEST REGARDS, STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ | FACTORY SALON
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AT THE CAPITOL
News from the 88th legislative session
QUOTE OF NOTE
Gov. Abbott prioritizes school choice, border security
NUMBER TO KNOW $57.5 million This is how much state senators have allocated in the draft 2024-25 biennium budget for anti-human tracking eorts, including victims services, mental health treatment for survivors and law enforcement training. “THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE OF A BALANCE BETWEEN THE STATE REQUIREMENTS AND MANDATES WITH THE FUNDING THAT IS PROVIDED TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS.” CYFAIR ISD CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER KAREN SMITH ON CHALLENGES WITH THE WAY TEXAS FUNDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
BY HANNAH NORTON
Gov. Greg Abbott outlined his priorities for the current legislative session during his biennial State of the State address Feb. 16. “This session, we will ensure Texas remains the leader of this nation as an uninching force in this world,” Abbott said. “Together, we will build a Texas for the next generation—the Texas of tomorrow.” Abbott unveiled seven emergency items, which lawmakers can vote on immediately. Lawmakers typically cannot vote on or pass legislation until the 60th day of the session— March 10. The governor’s emergency items, or top priorities, for the 88th Texas Legislature are cutting property taxes, ending COVID-19 restrictions “forever,” expanding school choice, making schools safer, tightening bail requirements, increasing border secu- rity and tackling the fentanyl crisis. As Texas lawmakers create the
Lawmakers can act on Gov. Greg Abbott’s seven emergency items as of mid- February, while they must wait until March 10 to pass unrelated legislation. Cutting property taxes Ending COVID-19 restrictions Expanding school choice Making schools safer Tightening bail requirements Increasing border security Tackling the fentanyl crisis
SOURCES: GOV. GREG ABBOTT, LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE LIBRARY OF TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT
state’s budget for 2024-25, they have access to an unprecedented $188.2 bil- lion—including a $32.7 billion surplus. According to Comptroller Glenn Hegar, this is largely due to high sales tax revenue, spikes in energy prices and recent economic growth. A large surplus means a large property tax cut, Abbott said, telling the audience “that money belongs to the taxpayers.” Another priority for Abbott is giving Texas parents more power to choose where their children go to school. This can be achieved through the imple- mentation of state-funded Education
Anti-human tracking eort aims to raise recognition, reporting crossings and other issues. In his related seventh emergency item, Abbott spoke about addressing the spread of fentanyl in Texas and the United States, which he said is caused by Mexican drug cartels who illegally smuggle the opioid into Texas and create counterfeit pills. Savings Accounts, he explained. “To be clear, under this school choice program, all public schools will be fully funded for every student,” Abbott said. On the topic of the Texas-Mexico border, Abbott blamed President Joe Biden for recent increases in border
UPDATES FROM LOCAL LEGISLATORS
MIKE SCHOFIELD Katy Republican Elected: 2021
Democrats propose $15K pay raises for teachers
House Bill 2450 would prevent homeowner’s associations from regulating residents’ speech. If passed, this bill would also ensure residents could peacefully assemble at property owned or maintained by the homeowner’s association. Invited guest speakers, including public ocials, would also be permitted to speak to homeowner’s association members or residents without prior approval by the homeowner’s association.
BY HANNAH NORTON
EDUCATOR PAY RAISE Under House Bill 1548, lawmakers would propose a:
One proposed bill by Texas Dem- ocrats aims to increase teacher pay after 11.6% of teachers—over 42,000— left their jobs at public schools ahead of the 2021-22 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency. State Rep. James Talarico, DRound Rock, led House Bill 1548, which would raise teacher salaries by $15,000 and increase pay for school support sta by 25%. This would bring the minimum annual salary for Texas teachers to $48,660. During the 2022-23 school year, classroom teachers, full-time librarians, counselors and registered nurses with less than one year of expe- rience must receive at least $33,660 per year, according to the TEA. Under the bill, the average teacher salary would be $73,887, making Texas the seventh-best state for teacher pay, Democrats said. According to the National Education Association, Texas now ranks 28th. “In Texas, it’s go big or go home. And it’s time, at this moment, to go big on teacher pay,” Talarico said. Before becoming a lawmaker,
BY HANNAH NORTON
State and community leaders relaunched the “Can You See Me?” human tracking campaign Jan. 26 aimed at spreading awareness of the signs of tracking and how to report suspicious activity. About 300 billboards will be displayed in over 70 Texas cities with information about the cam- paign and hotlines to call to report possible human tracking. “These victims are not invisible if we learn to look for the signs and if we learn how to report suspected abuse, exploitation and tracking,” said Texas rst lady Cecilia Abbott, who led the campaign’s relaunch. The state’s initial budget in Senate Bill 1 includes $57.5 million for anti-human tracking eorts, including victims services, mental health treatment for survivors and law enforcement training, Sen. Joan Human, RHouston, said.
Talarico taught language arts in San Antonio. “I struggled to make ends meet, and my co-workers at Rhodes Middle School drove Ubers at night and sold their own blood plasma to make extra money,” Talarico said. “Now, 40% of Texas teachers work a second job just to pay the bills.” Texas educates approximately 10% of the nation’s students, but many districts have lost up to one-third of their teachers in recent years, accord- ing to Austin ISD Board President Arati Singh. $15,000 teacher salary increase 25% increase in pay for school support sta $48,660 minimum teacher salary, up from $33,660 $73,887 average teacher salary SOURCE: TEXAS LEGISLATURE ONLINE COMMUNITY IMPACT
PENNY MORALES SHAW Houston Democrat Elected: 2021
House Bill 1806 would amend the Texas Labor Code. Under this amendment, employers discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression would be illegal. Currently, discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin or age is already illegal in the workplace. Sign up for our newsletter at communityimpact.com for daily updates throughout the session. SUBSCRIBE TODAY
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