Bay Area Edition | October 2020

BAY AREA EDITION

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3  OCT. 23NOV. 19, 2020

ONLINE AT

‘Inspiring during challenging times’

Despite strong sales tax revenue, businesses unsure of future locally

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

Lidia Ferruno had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and owning her own business. She took over The Salted Hippie Boutique, located at 613 E. Main St. in League City, in November 2019—and she is reminded every time she looks at old sales records that the business is struggling. “They constantly remind me we are nowhere near what the store would average normally during this time of year,” she said of the old sales records she obtained from the previous owner. “It’s been heartbreaking, to say the least.” CONTINUED ON 32 COLLECTING TAX Sales tax, which has been aected by COVID-19, makes up much of Bay Area cities’ existing general fund budgets.

Due to COVID19, Space Center Houston ocials have implemented changes tomake themuseumengaging for guests while prioritizing safety.

COURTESY SPACE CENTER HOUSTON

Space Center Houston adjusts to pandemic, plans future attractions

watched television broadcasts of the crew safely splashing down in the Pacic Ocean. Earlier this year, Space Center Houston, one of the Hous- ton area’s most popular museums, planned a celebration around the historic mission. The COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. While Space Center Houston ocials were looking forward to the museum’s best year yet, the coronavirus shut it down for months and put a damper on events. However, while the museum is still open only at a limited capacity, ocials used the pandemic to implement some CONTINUED ON 30

Sales tax revenue

Other revenue

25% 25%

Houston League City

BY JAKE MAGEE

Fifty years ago, when the Apollo 13 astronauts were on their way back to Earth after having abandoned their mis- sion to land on the moon due to an oxygen tank problem, many wondered if the crewwould make it back alive. But for Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, failure was not an option. On April 17, 1970, millions

8%

Nassau Bay

46%

Clear Lake Shores

SOURCES: CITIES OF HOUSTON, LEAGUE CITY, NASSAU BAY, CLEAR LAKE SHORESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN HEARTBURN COULD BE SOMETHING MORE THAN HEARTBURN?

Our ERs are ready for whatever, whenever. With convenient locations across the Greater Houston area, trusted emergency care, and a safe environment, our ERs are ready 24/7, every day of the year. Because when an emergency happens, your health is too important to wait.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 ENVIRONMENT 11 Galveston Bay report card EDUCATION 13 Clear Creek ISD Science Magnet Program CITY& SCHOOLS 14 INSIDE INFORMATION 17 COVID19 data GUIDE 18 Local haunted locations

FROMPAPAR: As we are nearing the end of 2020, COVID- 19’s long-term eects on our local economy are becoming more evident. This month, our front-page stories cover the impact the pandemic has had on local businesses as well as Space Center Houston. And a friendly reminder this election season: Visit our website for local election coverage. From local candidate Q&A’s to election night coverage, we hope you nd it all useful. Papar Faircloth, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Papar Faircloth, pfaircloth@communityimpact.com EDITOR Jake Magee REPORTER Colleen Ferguson GRAPHIC DESIGNER Justin Howell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lara Estephan METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoelfe CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

FROM JAKE: Space and the paranormal are probably two of my favorite things to discuss, so you can imagine how exciting this issue is for me. On Page 26, you will nd an in-depth story about how museum Space Center Houston has adjusted to COVID-19 and its long-term plans to attract visitors. If ghosts are more your jam, take a peek at our guide (see Page 20). Inside, you’ll nd a list of some of Galveston’s supposedly most haunted locations. Jake Magee, EDITOR

VOTERGUIDE

GUIDE

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Local representation ELECTION Harris County voting

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THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

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New businesses 4

Haunted locations 9

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BUSINESS 26 Tate’s Home Decor & Custom Framing

stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON CONTACT US 245 Commerce Green Blvd., Ste. 200, Sugar Land, TX 77478 • 3463682555 PRESS RELEASES baynews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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include newspaper ads; mailbox-targeted sticky notes, inserts and direct mail; and digital options. We also partner with Community Impact Printing for nationwide specialty orders. Our advertising clients self- report 97% satisfaction with their overall experience, and a recent third-party Readex survey proved 78% of paper recipients read three of the last four editions, and from what they read 83% “took action” of some kind. Contact us today for more info! communityimpact.com/advertising

Main Street Bistro HEALTH CARE

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DAILY INBOX

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Residential market data IMPACT DEALS

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SUFFERING FROM LEG PAIN?

Extra precautions are in place to ensure new & existing patients can safely receive treatment during COVID-19.

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Easily accessible from Beltway 8 or Highway 288

www.CoastalVascular.net Call 281-720-7509 to schedule an appointment

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Located at 8619 W Broadway St #105, Pearland, TX 77584

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

IMPACTS

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

6 The Lost Cajun will open a League City location at 3010 Gulf Freeway S., Ste. 1, in January 2021. The eatery will serve Cajun favorites from fried seafood to gumbo and jambalaya. The location will be the seventh in Texas and the third in the Houston area, with other franchises in Cypress and Humble. www.facebook.com/tlcleaguecity RELOCATIONS 7 The League City Regional Chamber of Commerce relocated Oct. 2 to 100 Perkins Ave., Ste. B2, League City, from 319 E. Galveston St., League City. Presi- dent Dewan Clayborn said the chamber relocated to offer its staff and members more space. The chamber’s mission is to promote the area’s economic growth by partnering with the city’s businesses, government and community. 281-338-7339. www.leaguecitychamber.com 8 Delta Life Fitness relocated Oct. 5 from 2200 Dickinson Ave., Dickinson, to 2500 Marina Bay Drive, Ste. P, League City. The fitness studio provides 30-min- ute workouts for women in a way de- signed to be encouraging and motivating. The business provides child supervision as well. Delta Life Fitness plans to open a Clear Lake location, but a time frame has not yet been determined. 281-755-1423. www.deltalifefitness.com EXPANSIONS 9 The parent company of Landry’s Seafood House , 215 Kipp Ave., Kemah, is offering steak and seafood delivery ser- vices nationwide, according to an Aug. 10 media release. Six cuts of beef and sever- al types of fish and lobster are available from Landry’s a la carte. Offerings are set to change seasonally. 281-334-2513. www.landryskitchen.com ANNIVERSARIES 10 Penny’s Beer Garden celebrated one year at 1001 FM 646 N., Dickinson, on Aug. 16. The urban farm, market and tap- room hosted several drive-thru produce events in the spring and early summer with free vegetable and cage-free egg

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ARMAND BAYOU NATURE CENTER

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CLEAR LAKE

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2351

KIPP W.

NASSAU BAY

GALVESTON BAY

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GREENE WING ST.

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2ND ST.

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PERKINS AVE.

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

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NOWOPEN 1 Houston Medical ER opened a Clear Lake location at 1351 Clear Lake City Blvd., Houston, on Aug. 31. The 24-hour emergency room treats fractures and sprains, animal and insect bites and stings, back pain, the flu, pneumonia and more. The ER, which has Cypress and Spring locations, also provides COVID-19 and antibody testing with same-day results. 713-344-1514. www.houstonmedicaler.com 2 RYSE Chiropractic + Spa celebrated its grand opening with an open house Oct. 9 at 780 Clear Lake City Blvd., Ste. A, Webster. The business uses evi-

dence-based techniques and combines chiropractic adjustments with other methods to treat pain. 281-406-0772. www.rysechirospa.com 3 Spades Poker House opened Aug. 14 at 20798 Gulf Freeway, Webster. The poker club has 18 tables at which guests can play seven days a week. The business includes an upscale lounge and kitchen, and a bar is coming soon. 281-724-1415. www.spadespokerhouse.com 4 Originally expected to open in July, Absolute Volleyball Academy of Texas opened at limited capacity in October at 380 Greene Wing St., Webster. The facility features eight indoor and eight

outdoor courts, a physical training center, a pro shop, special viewing areas and more. The business moved from its small- er location in Dickinson and will host a grand opening Nov. 7. 281-678-8752. www.avatexas.com COMING SOON 5 Pizza Lounge will open a Pasade- na location at 4450 E. Sam Houston Parkway, Ste. A, in the coming weeks. The restaurant, which also has a Houston location near Pearland, serves soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, desserts, beer, wine and pizza. The eatery has been op- erating since 2014. 713-380-2899. www.pizzaloungetogo.com

Harvest Memories The Shores at Clear Lake Senior Living offers resort-style accommodations with exceptional and innovative care in the Houston area. We specialize in assisted living and memory care services, combining the highest quality of attention and support to provide you with the care you deserve. We are providing all of the services you or your loved one could need while continuing to ensure that our residents live healthy, vibrant lives.

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To find out more, call 281-823-8088

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON & JAKE MAGEE

baskets amid COVID-19-related closures. The business is now open Fridays and Sat- urdays, with a farmer’s market the second Saturday of every month. 832-315-6263. www.pennysbeergarden.com IN THE NEWS 11 League City is making progress on improvements to League Park at 512 Sec- ond St., League City. The work includes new pavers, lighting and a large lawn that will be used to host events. Extra land- scape beds will be installed along the park’s perimeter. Additionally, the project will result in drainage improvements for the historic district surrounding the park. Work will be completed by November. 281-554-1000. www.leaguecity.com CLOSINGS 12 Luby’s , the Texas chain of family restaurants, will liquidate, dissolve its company and distribute the proceeds from the sale of its restaurants to share- holders. Locations remain open as of Oc- tober, including at 20001 Gulf Freeway, Webster. 281-724-2692. www.lubys.com

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HALEY MORRISON/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

FEATURED IMPACT ANNIVERSARIES Unique Jewels at 400 Bay Area Blvd., Ste. C, Webster, is celebrating 30 years in business in October. Owner Kim Nguyen opened her jewelry store in Webster in 1990. Trying to avoid mass-produced products, the business sells unique, one-of-a-kind collections and provides custom work. The business offers a variety of engagement rings, wedding rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. 281-332-6552. www.uniquejewelshouston.com

COURTESY RYSE CHIROPRACTIC + SPA RYSE Chiropractic & Spa

Spades Poker House

COURTESY SPADES POKER HOUSE

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THIS INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AS OF OCT. 19. FOLLOW COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM FOR THE LATEST BUSINESS AND RESTAURANT NEWS UPDATES.

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COURTESY CITY OF LEAGUE CITY League Park

COURTESY LANDRY’S Landry’s Seafood House

Providing quality care to the Southeast Houston area for over 25 Years.

Dr. Bahaeddin Shabaneh

Dr. David Hamer

Dr. Gerard Abreo

Dr. Mary Mercado Dr. Molham Aldeiri

Dr. Anna Harkins, Jr.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Taweel

Webster Location 530 Orchard Street Webster, TX 77598 (O) 281-338-4004

Pasadena Location 5010 Crenshaw Rd. Ste. 110 Pasadena, TX 77505 (O) 832-399-4400

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The open enrollment period for Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans is from October 15 ‐ December 7 Please call our office if you have questions about which insurance plans we take

SAME DAY APPOINTMENTS ‐ IN OFFICE TESTING ‐ 24 HOUR ON CALL PHYSICIANS

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

SEEING A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR Is Still Important

For everything from annual checkups to managing chronic conditions, taking care of your health should always be a priority. Houston Methodist primary care doctors are still available to provide personalized care for you and your family — safely. We offer a variety of convenient ways to get care from us, from same-day sick visits to extended hours at select locations. And, you can be confident that we are taking every necessary precaution to keep you safe during your visit, including:

Screening all patients, and seeing COVID-19 patients virtually only — allowing us to treat everyone safely

Ensuring social distancing in waiting rooms

Offering video visits with your doctor

Wearing masks while providing care

Adding evening and Saturday hours to space out appointments

Enhanced cleaning of equipment and surfaces

houstonmethodist.org/pcg Call or text: 713.394.6724

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Newcorporation could divert Harris County toll road revenue to other nonmobility projects

COMPILED BY JAKE MAGEE

ONGOING PROJECTS

commissioners to refrain from divert- ing funding away from infrastructure. “We are the fastest-growing precincts in Harris County, and to take this money away from our infrastructure will not only crumble our streets, but will hurt our busi- nesses and communities,” Cy-Fair Chamber President Leslie Martone said, referring to precincts 3 and 4. The toll road authority brought in just over $900 million in revenue in scal year 2019-20, which ended Feb. 29, according to budget documents. Harris County Budget Director Dave Berry said he expects the $90 million franchise fee to make up about 10% of the toll road authority’s annual revenue each year. Expenses came in at $438 million last year, meaning the total surplus was around $463 million. About $137 million was transferred to Harris County’s four precincts to use for local mobility projects. With the cre- ation of the corporation, Berry said that funding would not be decreased.

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The motion was opposed by Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle. Cagle said he did not see a need to rush the decision on what ocials believe is the largest nan- cial transaction in the history of the county, instead calling for a second opinion and public input. Radack said the move lacked transparency and argued money collected from toll roads should not be used to fund projects that otherwise would have to be funded by an increase in property taxes. “This is a money grab, and it is a way to try to basically ... use money to pay for things that are normally paid for by ad valorem [property] taxes,” Radack said. Leaders with several local cham- bers were among those who called on

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

A new limited government corpo- ration formed by Harris County on Sept. 15 could result in surplus revenue from the Harris County Toll Road Authority going to other county needs outside of the realm of transportation and mobility. The corporation was formed following a conversation at a Sept. 15 Commissioners Court meeting about renancing the authority’s debt. As a key part of the corporation’s inception, the authority will pay the county a one-time $300 million franchise fee as well as roughly $90 million in annual franchise fees moving forward, money that will be eectively removed from the author- ity’s budget and given to the county. The court’s ve commissioners will initially serve as directors. The three Democratic members of the court who supported the motion—Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 1 and 2 Com- missioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia—said they saw value in the added exibility in how that money can now be spent. “I think in the midst of the worst health challenge in 100 years and probably the worst economic challenges since the Great Depres- sion, we can’t solve all our problems, but I think we should not handcu ourselves,” Ellis said. Meanwhile, Garcia called on commissioners to begin determining what infrastructure needs to exist within the county to determine how the money should be allocated.

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Calder Road improvements Crews are modifying the existing asphalt and open-ditch roadway from Ervin Avenue to Cross Colony Drive into a concrete curb-and-gutter-style road- way. The project will result in widened lanes and an additional turning lane. About 50 feet of the road’s reinforced concrete box has been installed along with 315 feet of the new water line. Timeline: fall 2019-September 2021 Cost: $8.71 million Funding source: city of League City

UPCOMING PROJECT

WEST NASA RD.

ABIGAIL LN.

DOLLAR DIVERSION

The creation of a limited government corporation to run the Harris County Toll Road Authority will allow the county to free up hundreds of millions of dollars in toll road revenue for new uses.

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GrissomRoad widening Grissom Road between Abigail Lane and West NASA Road will be reconstructed from a two-lane, rural, open-ditch roadway into a four-lane, divided, urban roadway. On Sept. 29, League City City Council approved the city taking steps to acquire nearby property to reconstruct the road. Timeline: early 2021-early 2022 Cost: $12.2 million Funding sources: city of League City

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

$300MILLION Franchise fee paid from the toll road authority to the county as a maintenance and operations expense $90MILLION to be paid in annual fees moving forward Harris County can use the money on NONMOBILITY PROJECTS.

About $137M 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

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 8. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BAYNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY BUDGET OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ENVIRONMENT GalvestonBay report card highlights importance of local pollution reduction Although the 2020 Galveston Bay

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

the previous year that also closely relates to pollution levels, HARC President and CEO Lisa Gonzalez said. There have been improvements to levels of non-point source pollu- tion, which is a type of pollution that generally results from factors like land runo, she added. The Mission: Pollution Prevention section of the report card website aims to “help focus folks’ eorts, especially as we are all disconnected a little bit more this year,” HARC research scientist Erin Kinney said. The report card website includes a customizable action item activity through which residents can select pollution reduction activities based on the time and resources available to them. “It is one of the [activities] where people can have an immediate impact in the community,” Kinney said of pollution reduction. The bay earned a B in recreation safety, down from scores in previous years. Kinney said this is largely driven by areas like Texas City, where there have been recent issues with wastewater treatment outfalls

aecting bacteria levels in the water. The report card provides resources for residents to check real-time beach conditions. “It’s something that we hope will get better in the future, and we’re calling attention to it now because these are areas where folks like to get to and enjoy ... [the] bay,” she said. In May 2019, two barges collided in the Houston Ship Channel near Bayport, spilling 378,000 gallons of gasoline in Galveston Bay, which resulted in an F grade for oil spills in 2020. The shipping economy is vital to area industries, but HARC and GBF also recognize the importance of their groups being a watchdog for shipping-related impacts, experts said. Although habitat grades remain mostly unchanged, experts will con- tinue wetland, seagrass and oyster restoration eorts. Habitat resto- ration impacts every other aspect of the bay’s health, Gonzalez said. “[We’ve sort of] stemmed the tide of habitat loss, but now, we’re in the process of bringing those habitats back,” Stokes said.

can be done to improve across the report’s various indicators of bay health. The 22 indicators are divided into six categories related to human- driven and other factors. The subse- quent ndings and trends describe Galveston Bay and the surrounding watersheds, which span more than 7,000 square miles across the Greater Houston area and beyond. The report serves a dual purpose, Stokes said: It tracks the health of the bay over time and serves as an outreach point for the public. Hundreds of action items are listed on GBF’s website corresponding to report ndings. “Our message overall from the beginning is there’s [millions of peo- ple] that live right around Galveston Bay, and every single person can have an impact on the bay,” he said. The bay’s A grade for water quality in 2020, particularly its phosphorus levels, is a notable improvement from

report card placed the bay at the same health rating for the sixth consecutive year, experts said local pollution reduction eorts are taking o and spurring improvements on a smaller scale. The bay has earned an overall C grade—which signies the bay’s health is “adequate for now”—but Galveston Bay Foundation President Bob Stokes said the bay is a “really healthy” place. “In some ways, it’s almost amazing that it’s safe,” he said. The report card is compiled annu- ally by GBF and Houston Advanced Research Center. This year, GBF and HARC leaders said, the groups placed particular focus on pollution prevention to encourage Houstonians to support the bay. A grade of C for overall health means the bay is resilient despite many recent challenges, but more

WATERSHEDWELLNESS

The 2020 Galveston Bay Report Card examines various health indicators, several of which relate to human impact.

SOURCES: GALVESTON BAY FOUNDATION, HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTER COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Human health risks

Habitat

Water quality

Coastal change

Wildlife

Pollution events

C

D

A

C

C

C

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: C; 2018: C

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: D; 2018: C

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: B; 2018: A

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: C; 2018: C

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: C; 2018: D

Yearly grade: 2020 2019: B; 2018: C

How to help: Pick up and properly dispose of pet waste.

How to help: Volunteer with wetland or oyster reef projects.

How to help: Install a rain barrel to reduce lawn and street runo.

How to help: Turn o the tap when washing hands or brushing teeth.

How to help: Avoid bird nests, remove shing lines and crab traps.

How to help: Reduce, reuse, recycle, and pick up litter.

PHOTOS COURTESY GALVESTON BAY FOUNDATION, HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTER

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

How can you mend a broken heart? Cardiology Conditions and Services available at the UTMB Health Clear Lake Hospital Campus • Holter Monitoring • Pacemakers and Defibrillators • Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) • Cardiac Arrhythmia

• Echocardiogram/Echocardiography • Electrophysiology Studies • Heart Attack/Heart Failure • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

• Stent Implantation • Watchman Implants

• Cardiac Ablation/Catheter Ablation • Cardiac Imaging/Heart Mapping

Schedule an appointment with one of the many cardiologists that practice at the UTMB Health Clear Lake Hospital Campus by calling (832) 632-7991 .

The University of Texas Medical Branch is in-network for most major insurance plans.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

SCIENCE STATIONS The district’s science magnet program originated at Seabrook Intermediate in the mid-1990s and has since grown to include an additional intermediate school. Ed White and Hall elementary schools have been elementary STEM campuses for several years.

remote and in-person learners are thinking outside the box to apply STEM concepts. Students use low- tech, simple materials for their designs and projects—such as items from recycling bins—because the goal is simply to build the creative process, program liaisons said. Becca Rolater, science magnet liaison for Seabrook Intermediate, said the program provides an important avenue for middle schoolers to build themselves as a whole through peer interactions. “We want students to understand and to see STEM in and out of the classroom,” she said. The skills learned translate to other parts of students’ lives, such as their self-condence and work ethic, said Jan Larsen, former science magnet liaison for Seabrook Intermediate. While the program is not solely for straight-A students, the work science magnet students produce often stands out from their peers, Larsen said. The magnet program application for the 2020-2021 school year will reopen in January 2021. Younger students can participate in the elementary-STEM program at Ed White and Hall elementary schools. Program liaison Laura Mackay said the district pioneered its engineering lessons at EdWhite. Every CCISD elementary school now incorporates engineering lessons into their curriculum. The integration allows every student to experience the kind of critical thinking and creativ- ity EdWhite and Hall students are exposed to each day, Mackay said. “If you love science, especially engineering, and you like to build, ...our [program] gives you a lot of opportunities you aren’t going to get on a regular campus,” Mackay said.

Seabrook Intermediate 2401 N. Meyer Ave., Seabrook Program entering 28th year

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Brookside Intermediate science magnet students use science applications to explore concepts in the school library.

Brookside Intermediate 3535 FM 528, Friendswood Program entering third year

COURTESY CLEAR CREEK ISD

CCISD ignites students’ passions with enhanced science programs

BAY AREA BLVD.

528

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

N

Science magnet students begin their school day an hour earlier. They also take a scientic methods course, where they learn to perform experi- ments and present projects. Projects involve answering a scientic question through investigation—for example, creating a makeshift telescope. The exclusive eld trips typically available to science magnet students are on hold because of COVID-19. Brookside Intermediate program liaison Joey Segura said educators have found ways to quickly adapt and oer similar experiences through screens with organizations such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Galveston Bay Foundation. “While we couldn’t take them out to the experiences, we relied on the community partners to bring those experiences to us,” he said. Despite the lack of eld trips,

As Clear Creek ISD students adjust to various changes this school year, science magnet program liaisons said the experiences young learners gain through science, technology, engineer- ing and mathematics education are critical for their mental health. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade can participate in enhanced science programs at various CCISD campuses, both in-person and online. Program liaisons said the program activities and culture lead to high-achieving students with an increased admiration for STEM. District ocials said the science magnet programs were implemented when attendance began dropping o at some schools and STEM education was being talked about more across the nation. Magnet schools focus on a specic area of study.

EdWhite Elementary 9001 Triola Lane, Houston Program entering seventh year

N

N

Hall Elementary 5931 Meadowside St., League City Program entering third year

518

MEADOWSIDE ST.

N

SOURCE: CLEAR CREEK ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

CITY&SCHOOLS

News from Clear Creek ISD, Houston, Nassau Bay & Clear Lake Shores

NassauBay lowers property tax rate in 2020-21 budget

Clear Creek ISD approves lowest tax rate indecades

BY JAKE MAGEE

revenue and capital projects are down, contributing to the lower budget, Reynolds said. The city’s tourism fund from FY 2019-20 is about $475,000 due to COVID-19. As such, the city budgeted conservatively, expecting only $454,000 in 2020-21. “Typically we do about $900,000 a year with hotel funds, if not more,” Reynolds said of the decline. “This, while it doesn’t appear to be a big drop in the bucket for hotel funds, it is actually pretty significant.” One of the biggest capital expenses for FY 2020-21 is a transfer of $500,000 from the city’s reserves to pay for part of a newwater transmission line from the Southeast Water Purification Plant near Ellington Airport in Houston to the Clear Lake area. Several communi- ties, mostly League City, are chipping in for the water line that will help sus- tain and grow Bay Area communities. “It is what is cleaning the water and transferring the water fromHouston to Nassau Bay,” Reynolds said. Street paving makes up another

$310,000 of the $1.53 million set aside for capital projects. The City Council has made safety and infrastructure improvements priorities for Nassau Bay. As such, most of the budget funds police, fire, emergency medical services, and road and other infrastructure projects. “The dollars that are spent each year are really focused on those two priorities,” Reynolds said. “The rest is a support element to make sure those things can happen, but they all work in unison as one big cog wheel.”

NASSAUBAY For the second year in a row, Nassau Bay residents will see a property tax rate decrease after the Nassau Bay City Council on Aug. 31 unanimously approved the city’s fiscal year 2020-21 budget. The new property tax rate is $0.72212 per $100 valuation, which is lower than the previous rate of $0.73212. For six straight years before FY 2019-20, the tax rate was $0.74212 per $100 valuation, according to previous reports. Compared to other Bay Area communities, Nassau Bay’s tax rate combined with its trash, water and sewer rates is on the lower end; only Friendswood, Webster, Pasadena and La Porte have lower combined rates. “Even at $0.72212, we still are in a very good position,” City Manager Jason Reynolds told the council. Nassau Bay’s budget totals $14.51 million, which is a dip from the FY 2019-20 budget of $16.33 million and an increase from the FY 2018-19 budget of $13.97 million. Special

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

CLEAR CREEK ISD Clear Creek ISD’s board of trustees approved the district’s fiscal year 2020- 21 tax rate, an approximately $0.05 decrease from FY 2019-20, during a Sept. 28 meeting. The adopted tax rate is $1.2659 per $100 valuation, which consists of two components: the maintenance and operations tax rate of $0.9359 and the interest and sinking tax rate of $0.33. The rate exceeds the no-new-revenue tax rate of $1.22. The adopted rate is the lowest possible rate the district can approve without being penalized by the state while also allowing for full funding, based on the formula used to calculate tax rates, said Paul McLarty, the deputy superintendent of business and support services. Unlike with a government municipality, the district does not keep all of the funds raised through taxes, officials said. In 2019, the approved rate was the lowest the district had seen in 27 years. In the last two years alone, the tax rate has decreased by $0.1341. This year, the maintenance and operation tax rate decreased by $0.341 due to state House Bill 3, which provides more state money for schools, McLarty said. The tax rate was $1.40 since FY 2013-14 but dropped to $1.31 for FY 2019-20.

TAXRATE BYYEAR

$0.74212

$0.74212

$0.72212

$0.8

$0.6

$0.4

$0.2

$0

2016-17

2018-19 2020-21

ClearCreek ISDboard, searchfirmcreatesuperintendent candidateprofile

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

Although the district’s growth was also something community members posed as a challenge, Smith said the district expects to add 200-300 stu- dents each year at a stable rate. League City continues to grow, but not all of League City is within CCISD, President Laura DuPont added. The board will interview candi- dates in late October, and the vote and announcement of the lone finalist is planned for the first week in November.

and how they apply to the superin- tendent search. The firm amended its statement accordingly as new ideas came up during the meeting. The most desired leadership competencies discussed by the firm and the board included the ability to establish a culture of high expecta- tions for all students and personnel and a deep understanding of educa- tional research. After discussions with the board, the firm added language to indicate the ideal candidate would be visible throughout the district and actively engage in community life. “We don’t want to just find good people,” trustee Scott Bowen said of the teacher recruitment and retention process. “We want to make them better while they’re here, and we need to find a superintendent who’s capable of that.” Other characteristics that were emphasized for a potential superinten- dent included being a people person, having integrity, being innovative, and having experience being an educa- tional advocate and leader.

CLEAR CREEK ISD Clear Creek ISD’s board of trustees met Sept. 21 with associates from national search firmHazard, Young, Attea & Associ- ates, which was chosen to help the district select its next superintendent, and finalized the profile that will be used in the selection process. In the month since the search formally began, the firm has met with and analyzed responses from about 1,850 people through interviews and surveys. The end result was discussed and compiled into a brief statement of desired characteristics, which will serve as a profile to select current Superintendent Greg Smith’s successor. Smith, who is retiring at the end of the year, has been in the position for nearly 20 years. “We need to make sure that we’re all vetting people with the same bases, the bases being the profile,” said Peter Flynn, one of the firm’s associates. The meeting was spent discussing various characteristics of the district

PROPERTYTAXRATE

“WEWANT TOMAKE THEMBETTERWHILE THEY’RE HERE, AND WE NEED TO FINDA SUPERINTENDENT WHO’S CAPABLE OF THAT.” QUOTEOFNOTE

Total: $1.2659 per $100 valuation

Maintenance and operations tax rate

Interest and sinking tax rate

$0.33

$0.9359

SCOTT BOWEN, CLEAR CREEK ISD TRUSTEE

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Houstonsolidwasteproposes servicefees

The draft plan states not only will the solid waste department struggle to keep up with demand over the next 20 years, but it may also need to scale back its services if it cannot find new revenue sources, most likely through new fees. Mayor Sylvester Turner opposed a solid waste collection fee proposed in March 2019 but later reversed his position when Houston was facing a budget shortfall. In a split vote in June, council mem- bers approved a $1.14 monthly garbage bin lease fee to address Houston’s budget gap. Besides the bin lease fee, residents do not pay additional fees on top of city taxes for trash collection. Residents have until Oct. 31 to answer a survey about Houston’s plan.

BY EMMA WHALEN

Free Online Classes & Events for Houston Seniors

HOUSTON Houston SolidWaste Department leaders are proposing levying up to $30 in monthly fees for some residents. In its proposed 20-year long-range plan published in mid-September, the solid waste department lists increased recycling costs, shrinking space in landfills and aging equipment as reasons Houston needs to look for new revenue sources to address the city’s growing needs. “Because of the projected growth, it is imperative that we look at the next 20 years and identify solid waste management strategies with the goal of reducing the amounts of waste generated,” department Director Harry Hayes said in a news release.

We’re Bringing the Fun toYOU! While COVID-19 has reduced our ability to gather in groups, it hasn’t stopped Partners in Primary Care fromcreating new ways to serve our community and help keep local Houston seniors active and connected. We’re hosting safe, virtual online events just for you! They’re free and safe, with nothing to download and you don’t even need a camera. Invite your friends and join us through your computer, tablet or mobile device just by clicking on a link! Virtual Tours View our center tour so you can see what to expect as a patient!

TAKETHESURVEY Fill out the trash collection fee survey at www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/longrange/01participation.html.

Virtual Health&Wellness Programs We host ongoing classes that help keep you healthy and informed: • Managing your health online classes • Nutrition classes and cooking demos

ClearLakeShoresadoptsfiscal year2020-21budget

the roads and drainage and economic development funds. Total sales tax revenue is projected at $2.3 million, which accounts for about 28% of the total budget. The FY 2019-20 budget was $4.4 million, roughly the same as the FY 2018-19 budget of $4.5 million. The budget for FY 2019-20 included $2.64 million for operations and capital projects and about $1.8 million in a “rainy day fund,” City Administrator Brent Spier said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Clear Lake Shores’ popula- tion is the highest it has been since 2010 at 1,215 people.

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

• ZoomBINGO • Zoom Trivia • SilverSneakers® and Zumba • &more!

CLEAR LAKE SHORES Clear Lake Shores City Council approved the city’s fiscal year 2020-21 budget, which is projected to be nearly $2 million higher than the budget from last fiscal year, during a Sept. 1 regular meeting. The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2021. More than half of the $6.3 million in the total budget is for the city’s general fund, according to city data. The city’s general fund, which is estimated to be at $3.8 million as of Oct. 1, includes projected revenue frommixed-drink sales and sales taxes—$38,500 and $1.75 million, respectively. Clear Lake Shores does not collect property taxes. The city expects to gain approx- imately $500,000 in revenue from police fees and fines. The remaining $1.5 million in projected revenue is split between licensing and permit fees, waterfront fees, rental income and pool membership fees. Apart from the general fund, another $560,000 of expected sales tax revenue is split evenly between

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League City City Council meets at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Watch at www.facebook.com/ leaguecitytexas. Clear Creek ISD board of trustees meets at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. Watch at www.facebook.com/ clearcreekisd. MEETINGSWECOVER

15

BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

INSIDE INFORMATION

Clear Creek ISD and Galveston County COVID19 data

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

SLOWING THE SPREAD Marina Keeton, Clear Creek ISD’s lead nurse, said in October there are no pockets of coronavirus outbreaks within specic campuses, which indicates the virus is not spreading at school. The district has collected and reported COVID-19 data by campus since Aug. 24.

CASES AND DEATHS Since the pandemic began, nearly 2,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Galveston County residents ages 21-30, the highest of any age group, and 88 of those cases are considered active as of Oct. 19. However, no county residents under age 31 have died from COVID-19. More than 4,500 total residents under age 31 have recovered from the coronavirus.

Student cases

Sta cases

CASES BY AGE GROUP IN GALVESTON COUNTY

20

829 CASES

11-20 0-10 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90

19 cases

1,399 CASES

2,430 CASES

15

1,998 CASES

1,825 CASES

9 cases

10

1,619 CASES

1,044 CASES

510 CASES

5

241 CASES

84 CASES

91+

0

8/24

9/1

9/10

9/24

10/5 10/13 10/20

DEATHS BY AGE GROUP IN GALVESTON COUNTY

31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90

3 CASES

STUDENT DATA: The number of active COVID-19 cases among students doubled in late September but decreased slightly by mid- October. Safety-related changes to students’ school days include socially distanced lunches and one-way hallways. STAFF DATA: The number of cases among sta members peaked in mid-October. More than 80 sta members have been granted pandemic-related accommodations, including the ability to work from home, this year, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Casey O’Pry said.

5 DEATHS

11 DEATHS

32 DEATHS

37 DEATHS

40 DEATHS

20 DEATHS

+91

SOURCES: CLEAR CREEK ISD, GALVESTON COUNTY HEALTH DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

17

BAY AREA EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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