TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1 OCT. 23NOV. 19, 2021
NICHOLS SAWMILL RD.
Ongoing Out for construction bids
The widening of FM 1488 from FM 1774 to FM 149 is out for construction bids, according to Texas Department of Transportation ocials. Once bids are awarded, construction will begin within 90 days.
4miles of road
Expanding from 2 lanes to4 lanes
2.5 years to construct
SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
I KNOWWE NEEDMORE LANES BECAUSEMAGNOLIA IS GROWING, AND IT’S GOOD FOR BUSINESS, BUT THE CONSTRUCTION IS GOING TOAFFECT OUR BUSINESS VERY, VERY BADLY. RENE BENITEZ, OWNER OF LAS FUENTES RESTAURANT ON FM 1488
The FM 1488 corridor through the city of Magnolia is slated to be under construction for the next 23 years, widening FM 1488 from two to four lanes through downtown, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. New residential and commercial development has yielded increased trac. While the project is poised to improve mobility, the TxDOT project has
already brought challenges for business owners who have forfeited parking spaces, for example, ahead of the corridor expansion.
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TOMBALL - MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
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FROMCHRISSY: Happy fall! It’s nally time for cooler weather, pumpkin patches and holiday parades—and let’s not forget the time change Nov. 7. Elections are also happening, including a $567.56 million bond in Tomball ISD. Early voting runs through Oct. 29. See what is on the Nov. 2 ballot at communityimpact.com/voter-guide. Chrissy Leggett, GENERALMANAGER
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FROMANNA: Construction on FM 1488 through Magnolia’s eastern limits is just months away from starting. The project, which has long been discussed, is anticipated to help with trac ow in and around the city, but it has also caused headaches for local business owners. Our front-page story takes a look at the upcoming project. Anna Lotz, EDITOR
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CORRECTION: Volume 11, Issue 12 In the Voter Guide on Page 21, Proposition 8 does not include an age requirement for spouses of deceased armed service members to receive exemptions on homestead property taxes.
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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding
HUFSMIITH CONROE RD.
COURTESY CARLA’S HEMPIRE
said. 832-441-5880. www.instagram. com/a_barber_touch_barbershop 4 Dr. Cell Phones opened in early August at 14029 FM 2920, Tomball. The locally owned shop repairs various dam- ages to gadgets, such as broken glass or liquid damage, in phones, tablets, smart watches and laptops. The company also has a location in Spring. 832-665-2222. www.drcellphones.com 5 Wave Sushi opened Oct. 6 in Magno- lia. The Japanese restaurant specializes in classic sushi rolls and other traditional items, such as teriyaki, udon noodles and ramen. Guests can order online or dine in. The new eatery is located at 18423 FM 1488, Ste. B, Magnolia. 281-789-7035. 6 A four-story, 90-room Towneplace Suites hotel is coming to 9120 FM 2920, Tomball, according to owner Nirmal Gandhi. Towneplace Suites is a con- nected brand of Marriott Hotels but is independently owned. Gandhi said the development is in the permitting stages with hopes to begin construction in six months. He said there is no timeline on when the hotel may be nished. www.towneplacesuites.marriott.com 7 Placeholder Storage , an RV storage park, is planning to open by the end of November or early December, according to owner Keith Walker. The park will feature 12-by-45-foot slots with 15-amp electrical hookups and wash and dump stations. The park will initially have 128 RV slots with plans for 300 RVs once it www.wavesushi123.com COMING SOON
Z I O N R D .
HUFSMITH KOHRVILLE RD.
B O U D R E A U X R D .
P R E S S R D .
N Map not to scale
TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT CO. LICENSING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
NOWOPEN 1 The Water Tree , a business specializing in bottled ltered alkaline water, opened in the beginning of September at 14320 FM 2920, Ste. F, Tomball. The company uses reverse osmosis to clean and restore water to its natural state, owner Alena Strnad said. The business also sells other products, such as hemp water, shower
heads and vitamins. 281-746-5905. www.facebook.com/Water-Tree-Tom- ball-105149968572174 2 Carla’s Hempire held a grand opening Oct. 3 at 1010 Magnolia Blvd., Magnolia. The business sells CBD products, such as tinctures; water solubles; beauty prod- ucts; and creams, which can help with stress, anxiety and pain. The company
also sells vapes and smokables. 832-338-5729. www.facebook.com/ carlashempire 3 Barber Touch Barbershop opened at 12131 Northpointe Blvd., Tomball, in Au- gust. The barbershop oers haircuts, beard trims and hot towels with plans to add more services, such as facials and black masks, in the future, owner John Vieyra
open 24/7 walk-in NO WAIT
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Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
209th Design House
COURTESY 209TH DESIGN HOUSE
is built out, Walker said. The property is located at 26410 Hufsmith Conroe Road, Magnolia. 512-332-9787. www.placeholderstorage.com 8 Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steak- burgers is planning to open a location in Tomball at 27645 Business 249, Tomball, in the rst quarter of 2022, a repre- sentative from the company said. The company has yet to begin construction on the Tomball location due to various delays but is hoping to begin building in November, the representative said. The fast-casual restaurant specializes in fro- zen custard and traditional American food such as steakburgers, chicken sandwich- es and hot dogs. The location was rst conrmed in September 2019, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. The company has multiple other locations in the Houston area, including in Magno- lia. www.freddysusa.com 9 Magnolia Flower Shop and Boutique plans to open in early November, owner Theresa Sims said. The business will sell owers and various home goods such as pillows, throws and candles. Sims said she is hoping to ll a need in the community by oering these products so Magnolia residents do not have to leave the city to get them. The shop will be located at 19010 FM 1488, Magnolia. 936-232-5910. RELOCATIONS 10 Grab N Go Tacos reopened at its new location within the same shopping center in Tomball on Sept. 27. The restaurant, which sells street and gourmet tacos,
burritos, quesadillas and other Mexican food, moved to a smaller location but custom built it for a taco shop, according to co-owner Darren Ferguson. The new location is at 24435 Hwy. 249, Tomball. 832-534-1155. www.grabngotacos.com 11 Steinhausers , a feed store in Magno- lia, will be relocating to the former loca- tion of Arlan’s Market at 17529 FM 1488, Magnolia, manager Chastity Sargent said. Sargent said she is planning to have the business moved sometime in mid- to late 2022. She said the business is relocating because it needs a larger store. The busi- ness is currently located at 11821 FM 1488, Magnolia. 281-356-2530. www.steinhausers.com 12 Jonah’s Movers , a moving company based in the North Houston area and located at Boudreaux Road, is relocating inside Tomball’s city limits to Theis Lane, according to the Tomball Economic De- velopment Corp. The company is devel- oping a 24,000-square-foot facility and is seeking to expand from seven trucks to 10 or 12 in the coming years, according to the TEDC. The company said it will not know more details about when the move will occur until the beginning of 2022. 832-728-6675. www.jonahsmovers.com EXPANSIONS 13 Grimes Industrial , which is located at 929 E. Main St., Tomball, is expanding its operations with a new 11,000-square- foot shop, according to ocials with the business and the Tomball Economic Development Corp. Grimes Industrial manufactures structural steel and sheet
Main Event, an entertainment center featuring bowling, arcade games, food and a bar, is under construction in Tomball o of Hwy. 249.
COURTESY MAIN EVENT
FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Main Event , an entertainment center featuring bowling, arcade games, food and a bar, is coming to Tomball, said Bruce Hillegeist, president of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. Construction began this summer. Main Event has ve locations in the Houston area, including in Shenandoah and Katy. The company did not provide a timeline for when the Tomball location of Main Event, located o of Hwy. 249 and Windsor metal, specializing in stairways, hand railings, platforms and catwalks. The company said it is seeking to nish the new shop—which will add two 20-ton overhead cranes and powder coating, laser cutting, and press brake opera- tions—by the end of the year, depending on construction delays. 713-921-0000. www.grimes-industrial.com 14 Design studio 209th Design House , located in downtown Tomball, expanded its business into an adjacent shop at 301 S. Cherry St., Tomball, in early September and is marketing it as Muse:301, accord- ing to owner Troy Garza. The company specializes in lacquered furniture but also sells other products, such as candles and jewelry. The business focuses on tradi-
WINDSOR POINTE DR.
Pointe Drive near the Regal Lone Star and Texas Roadhouse, will be open. www.mainevent.com
tional white furniture, while Muse:301 incorporates more color and art into its designs, Garza said. 832-610-8402. www.209thdesigns.com NEWOWNERSHIP 15 Hilary Wiezbenski took over own- ership of L&T Liquor in the beginning of August, Wiezbenski said. She said she is planning to change the name of the li- quor store to Pinehurst Liquor in the near future. The location was also recently remodeled with new paint, refurbished wood and new appliances, Wiezbenski said. The store is located at 32350 Hwy. 249, Pinehurst. 281-259-7922. www.landtliquor.com
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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
Late October & November events
CELEBRATE HOWLOWEEN BEFORE THE HOLIDAY ABANDONED ANIMAL RESCUE
ENJOY CAREFEST INMAGNOLIA WEST MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTER
The Abandoned Animal Rescue is holding its annual Howl-O-Ween event just before Halloween. The event will include games for kids, candy, tours and a DJ. Luliet Creamery will be serving ice cream. 10 a.m.-noon. Free. 32632 Wright Road, Magnolia. 281-789-4142. www.aartexas.org
Society of Samaritans hosts CAREfest with free community resources and activities, such as face painting, a re truck and a bouncy house for children; complimentary hot dogs; health screenings; a free food fair; and a job fair. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. 31355 Friendship Drive, Magnolia. 281-259-8452. www.societyofsamaritans.org
30 CELEBRATE FALL IN THE HEART OF TOMBALL The Tomball Bible Church will present its fall carnival for the family to enjoy. The festival will feature fall-themed events, including a hayride and games. Inatables, complimentary food and face painting will also be available. 4-6 p.m. Free. Tomball Bible Church, 400 N. Walnut St., Tomball. 281-351- 1876. www.tomballbible.church 30 DRESS UP AND DANCE The nonprot Love Fosters Hope is hosting its seventh annual Night
7:30 p.m. (Nov. 5-6). Free. 9738 Hufsmith Road, Tomball. www.hcp4.net 06 CHECKOUT VINTAGE TOYS AT LOCAL COMIC SHOP Vintage toys and comics will be displayed at Comix Cafe’s Tomball Fall Toyfest. The event will also feature vendors and appearances from comic artist Mostafa Ink and writer Josh Starnes as well as live music from Cirque la Vie. Noon-5 p.m. Free. 27620 Business 249, Tomball. 832-698-1850. www.facebook.com/comiccafetx
of Hope gala to support its mission of helping children in foster care. The event will feature dancing, auctions and dinner. Guests are encouraged to dress in 1920s-style fashion. 6 p.m. $150. 33300 Egypt Lane, Ste. G-420, Magnolia. 832-823-1899. www.lovefostershope.org NOVEMBER 05 THROUGH07 WATCH THEATER IN THE PARK Harris County Precinct 4 presents “Hamlet” at Burroughs Park, performed by local actors. 2 p.m. (Nov. 6-7),
OCTOBER 29 THROUGH 30
GRILL AT A COOKOFF Magnolia’s First Baptist Church is hosting a barbecue cook-o at its pumpkin patch. Meat will be provided, and prizes will be awarded for brisket, meat, chicken and open categories. Chefs will meet Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., and the entries will be judged Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. The team entry fee is $200. 18525 FM 1488, Magnolia. 281-356-8543. www.m1bc.org/bbq
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for veterans, a ag retirement ceremony and a concert by The Fantastics. 5-7:30 p.m. (Nov. 12), 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (Nov. 13). Free (admission), $250 (cook-o entry). 19450 Unity Park Drive, Magnolia. 832-712-1760. www.tufoundation.org/ PERUSE ANART SHOW The Tomball Art League will present an art show open to the public with art for sale as a fundraiser for the Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library’s Friends of the Library nonprot organization. Artwork will be on display cooking-4-courage 12 THROUGH 13 by local artists in various mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography and mixed media. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. (Nov. 12), 1-3:30 p.m. (Nov. 13). Free. 30555 Hwy. 249, Tomball. www.thetomballartleague.com 19 LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN DOWNTOWN The city of Tomball rings in the holiday season with its Christmas tree lighting at the Historic Depot Plaza downtown. The event will include complimentary hot chocolate, live music performances, and photo opportunities with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. 6-8 p.m. Free. Historic Depot Plaza, 201 S. Elm St., Tomball. 281-222-4775. www.tomballtx.gov
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 18525 FM 1488, Magnolia 281-356-8543 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 4-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. noon-6 p.m. (Oct. 11-31) OLD TIME CHRISTMAS TREE FARM 7632 Spring Cypress Road, Spring 281-370-9141 Hours: Fri. 4-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. (Oct. 1-31) THE PATCHATWILDWOOD UNITEDMETHODIST CHURCH 8911 FM 1488, Magnolia 832-934-0100 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.- Sun. noon-6 p.m. (Oct. 11-31) LAKEWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 11330 Louetta Road, Houston 281-370-2273 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 2-8 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Oct. 6-31)
ENJOY ANNUAL TOMBALL HOLIDAY PARADE DOWNTOWN TOMBALL
The 56th annual Tomball Holiday Parade will take place on Main Street in Tomball. Patrons can line the street as oats kick o the holiday season. The parade begins at Main and Elm streets and moves to just past Buvinghausen Street. Free. 10 a.m.-noon. 281-351-7222. www.tomballchamber.org
11 THROUGH 21 SEE YOUTH THEATER PRODUCTIONS IN TOMBALL
11-12, 19). $12-$15. 700 E. Main St., Tomball. www.nationalyouththeater.org 12 THROUGH 13 SHOWOFF COOKING SKILLS AT COOKING 4 COURAGE Hosted by the Texans United For Freedom Foundation, the Cooking 4 Courage event in Magnolia honors veterans and rst responders. The main event is a barbecue cook-o, and there will also be a dinner
National Youth Theater will present two productions this fall with performers age 8-19. Performances are held at Concordia Lutheran High School. Showings of “The Lion King Jr.” span Nov. 11-14, and “Wizard of Oz” runs Nov. 19-21. 2 p.m., 6 p.m. (Nov. 13-14, 20-21), 7 p.m. (Nov.
Find more or submit Tomball and Magnolia 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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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
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TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES TxDOT keeps I45 expansion in 10-year plan despite investigation The North Houston Highway
COMPILED BY SHAWN ARRAJJ, ANNA LOTZ & HANNAH ZEDAKER
rerouting I-45 to follow I-69 east of downtown rather than its existing path through Midtown. Proponents of the project have said it will ease congestion, particularly for commut- ers; improve safety; and mitigate ooding issues. However, opponents have argued the project will have disproportion- ately negative eects on Black and Hispanic communities along its route. The project would displace over 900 residences, 300 businesses, ve places of worship and two schools, according to TxDOT’s nal environmental impact statement. Launched earlier this year, the FHA investigation is exploring possible civil rights violations within the proj- ect’s design. Harris County also sued TxDOT over the project in March.
The I-45 expansion project has received the support of the Houston- Galveston Area Council, and members of the group’s transportation subcommittee approved a nonbinding resolution in March to keep working with TxDOT on the project. Brandy Beyer, vice president of operations with the Greater Tomball Chamber of Commerce, said in August the chamber was in favor of keeping the I-45 project within the UTP as failure to do so could result in other TxDOT projects—such as the widening of FM 2920—also losing funding. Some opponents, however, stressed the funding should instead be used to pursue a more equitable project. Bugg said the commission will revisit the project and the investiga- tion at its December meeting.
N. WILLOW ST.
Improvement Project will remain in the 10-year plan of the Texas Department of Transportation after unanimous approval Aug. 31. However, the controversial project remains stalled by a federal investiga- tion, and Bruce Bugg, the chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, said not much can be done until that investigation is completed. “It’s crystal clear to me TxDOT is ready to build the NHHIP, no question about it,” Bugg said. “But we can’t do it until the [Federal Highway Administration] releases the hold.” The $7 billion NHHIP has been part of regional transportation plans in Houston dating back to 2004. The project, as proposed, involves
FM 2920 safety improvements TxDOT is designing a project to add raised medians and right-turn lanes along the FM 2920 corridor between I-45 in Spring to North Willow Street in Tomball. TxDOT sought construction bids in August, and the project was awarded to MBN Enterprises LLC. Construction is expected to take 16 months. Timeline: TBD Cost: $3.6 million Funding sources: 80% federal, 20% state
A YEAR IN REVIEW The North Houston Highway Improvement Project has been in the works for more than 15 years. The Texas Transportation Commission said it is ready to move forward with construction.
HARDIN STORE RD.
FM 2978 widening The widening of FM 2978 continues from FM 1488 to approximately Hardin Store Road, a TxDOT project to expand FM 2978 from two to four lanes. The project has been ongoing since September 2018, according to TxDOT data, and was 80% complete as of Sept. 29. Timeline: September 2018-fourth quarter 2021 Cost: $22.52 million Funding sources: 80% federal, 20% state
The Texas Department of Transportation issues a record of decision , completing the environmental review.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council transportation subcommittee votes 14-11 to work collaboratively with TxDOT to keep the project in motion.
The Texas Transportation Commission adopts its 10-year plan , which still includes the NHHIP in its current form. TTC Chair Bruce Bugg says construction is ready to begin but cannot due to the federal investigation.
Harris County sues TxDOT , alleging it failed to adequately consider the full environmental ramications of the project in its nal environmental impact statement. The Federal Highway Administration opens an investigation into the project the same day over possible civil rights violations in the project’s design.
The TTC will revisit the NHHIP’s inclusion on its 10-year plan based on progress made in the FHA investigation. In the meantime, the FHA will host virtual meetings regarding civil rights complaints .
TxDOT receives a letter from the FHA reiterating that the project needs to be halted .
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 14. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT TOMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.
SOURCES: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, HOUSTONGALVESTON AREA COUNCIL, FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION, HARRIS COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
HIGHER EDUCATION Lone Star College begins process to add fourthbachelor’s program
Program approval Community colleges in Texas such as Lone Star College System can apply to expand baccalaureate oerings from three programs to ve after House Bill 3348 was passed during the 2021 legislative session.
Current phase: Seek approval from the LSCS board of trustees
Apply to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN
in this eld. “As a former teacher, I encouraged my students to always nd what they wanted, and then get the certication and education they need to do that,” Smith said. ESD 10 is in a transitional phase as the organization prepares to end its contract with the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department, accord- ing to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting. The transition will not change how the organization provides services but will cause current MVFD employees to become employees of the ESD, Smith said. Smith said part of the transition includes hiring more sta so all of the ESD’s nine stations can be opera- tional 24/7 to serve new residential and commercial growth. ESD 10 Secretary and Treasurer Kelly Viollete said she believes the new degree program is going to be key for the organization as it prepares for future growth and tackles the problem of stang. “For residents to have a local pathway to get through that type of program and it be cost ecient is huge,” Violette said. “For us, it builds a pipeline of future qualied sta, so I think it’s amazing.” Next Steps Jones said LSCS is still in the pro- posal stage for the new baccalaureate program. Moving forward, LSCS will work to get approval from its board of trustees, then apply to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Lone Star College System is in the process of adding a baccalaureate program in emergency management to provide additional options for students seeking higher education. The proposed program is possible because of House Bill 3348—passed during this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature—which increases the total number of baccalaureate programs a community college can oer from three to ve. Valerie Jones, associate chancellor of academic aairs at LSCS, said the decision to add the emergency man- agement degree program was based on the projected need for employees in the eld for the next 10-20 years. “We want to make sure that the programs for our students are aligned with future careers for them,” Jones said. “With this case ... we are in an area where emergency management spans into so many dierent areas, from ooding to hurricanes to res and pandemics.” LSCS currently oers three bacca- laureate programs: Bachelor of Science in nursing; Bachelor of Applied Tech- nology in cybersecurity; and Bachelor of Applied Science in energy, manu- facturing and trades management. Local Needs Larry Smith, president of the board of commissioners for Montgomery County Emergency Services District 10 serving the Magnolia area, said the emergency management degree gives students a clear pathway into a career
Apply to the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 3
First course begins in spring 2023
New program is formed
What is a Bachelor of Applied Science? The bachelor’s programs at Lone Star College System include applied science programs, which are dierent from a standard four-year university degree.
Step 1: Begin by enrolling in an associate degree program at LSCS. Step2: Students can apply to begin the bachelor’s program at the end of their second year. Applied science degrees focus on technical training within the rst two years of schooling.
ALL OF OUR PROGRAMS ARE BUILT FOR WORKINGADULTS. VALERIE JONES, LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEM ASSOCIATE CHANCELLOR OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
SOURCE: LONE STAR COLLEGE SYSTEMCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
before applying to the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Associ- ation of Colleges and Schools. Once all of the steps have been completed, Jones said the college is planning to launch the program in the spring semester of 2023. “At each stage, we are demonstrat- ing to our board of trustees, the state and our regional accreditors that we have thoroughly thought through this,” Jones said. “We are showing our graduates will have employment after this and our community has requested a need for this.”
Jones said the program is antici- pated to operate in cohorts, begin- ning with a total of 30 students in the initial class before expanding up to 60 students the following fall. “What we experienced with our rst bachelor’s program was a much higher demand than we expected,” Jones said. “We are prepared for the same type of opportunity.” LSCS ocials said, if approved, the program is slated for the LSCWest- way Park Technology Center. Chandler France contributed to this report.
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PUBLIC SAFETY Cypress Creek EMS, Harris County ESD 11 forge newpaths after feud
REVISING SERVICES With the Sept. 1 launch of ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare, the district is replacing a service Cypress Creek EMS had provided for more than 45 years. Here is a look at ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare’s services from Sept. 1-13 and CCEMS’ total numbers in 2020. CCEMS is now a separate venture, no longer serving only Harris County ESD 11.
BY WESLEY GARDNER
entity to help fund emergency ser- vices in the area. Upon its formation, ESD 11 com- missioners approved a contract with CCEMS to continue providing ambulance services within the dis- trict, which was renewed annually until September 2020, when a feud between the two entities reached its boiling point. At a May 2020 ESD 11 board meet- ing, commissioners alleged CCEMS had been misusing taxpayer funds by using its on-site mechanic to conduct repairs on employees’ personal vehi- cles. That September, commission- ers voted to terminate the district’s service agreement with the EMS pro- vider, claiming CCEMS ocials had repeatedly refused to disclose nan- cial documents needed for the dis- trict’s investigation into the potential misuse of funds. Two months later, ESD 11 commis- sioners announced the district would launch its own EMS provider—ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare—but the two enti- ties continued to spar throughout the Since its Sept. 1 launch, ESD11Mobile Healthcare CEO Doug Hooten said the district is looking to move forward. Jerry Thomas, ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare’s community engage- ment manager, said dispatch received roughly 2,600 calls resulting in 1,420 transports from Sept. 1-13. “It is important to note that not all calls require an ambulance response nal year of their contract. Looking toward the future
Cypresswood residents Cli and Kati Woodward and others living near FM 1960 formed what eventually became Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services in 1975. Now, more than 45 years later, the EMS provider is still going strong, although several years of building acri- mony with Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11, which began contracting with CCEMS upon its cre- ation in 2004, has forced the EMS pro- vider to pursue separate ventures. On Sept. 1, the district launched ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare to take over providing emergency services to over 600,000 residents across 177 square miles in its service area in north Harris County, which includes the southern Tomball area that is unincorporated. Meanwhile, CCEMS signed a con- tract with American Jet International in June to provide emergency air medical transports. Additionally, the EMS provider will continue to provide ground care and event services as well as educational opportunities for emergency and health care workers. A simmering feud While CCEMS was initially funded entirely by donations and money taken in from service fees, Harris County’s population—which grew by more than 580,000 residents from 1990 to 2000, according to U.S. Cen- sus Bureau data—prompted the need for additional sources of revenue. The creation of ESD 11 was approved by voters in 2004 to serve as a taxing
Sept. 1-13, 2021 service stats Dispatched calls: 2,596 Responses: 2,447 Average response time: 9 minutes, 30 seconds ESD 11 MOBILE HEALTHCARE ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare services the area within Harris County ESD 11, which previously received services from Cypress Creek EMS. HARRIS COUNTY ESD 11
Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2020 service stats Dispatched calls: 52,206 Responses: 50,821 Average response time: 7 minutes, 43 seconds CYPRESS CREEK EMS
SOURCES: ESD 11 MOBILE HEALTHCARE, CYPRESS CREEK EMSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
based on a patient’s medical prior- ities,” Thomas said. “We strive to get the right ambulance to the right patient at the right time.” Hooten, who previously served as CEO of the Metropolitan Area EMS Authority/MedStar Mobile Healthcare in Fort Worth, was appointed ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare’s CEO inDecember. According to Hooten, one aspect of a mobile health care system is providing proactive care, which
means getting to know the indi- viduals who commonly call 911 for nonemergencies. “[The question becomes,] ‘How do we establish the root cause of why you’re calling and become better able to help you learn how to navigate the health care system?’” Hooten said. Additionally, Hooten said ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare is working along- side local police agencies to develop a mental health response initiative.
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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
Light it Up Kick-off the Holiday Season with the lighting of the Tomball Christmas Tree Meet & Greet with Santa Claus Free hot chocolate and cookies Tour The Depot A Railroad Museum at Tomball Saturday, November 20 At the Historic 1907 Downtown Depot
201 South Elm Street in downtown Tomball
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A National Model Railroad Month Event O-scale Lionel, Z-scale, and G-scale from HAGG Saturday, November 13th at the Tomball downtown Depot Museum 201 South Elm Street, Tomball, Texas 77375
The fun starts at 7 p.m.
Santa 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Tree lighting 7:30 p.m.
Want to see more? Visit Tomball Texan for Fun on Facebook
For more information call 281-351-5484 or visit Tomball Texan for Fun on
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
GOVERNMENT Tomball approvesadditional ocers, newcameras for policedepartment
The three additional ocers, including an additional vehicle, will cost the city approximately $365,000, Bert said. City Council also approved the purchase of 40 body-worn and 16 vehicle-mounted AXON cameras for the police department, totaling $416,812, paid o in annual install- ments over ve years. Bert said the cameras are necessary because the department’s current operational model is inecient, and there are not enough cameras for each ocer to have their own. The purchasing of the cameras was not included in this scal year’s budget, which began Oct. 1. “I would encourage you to take a hard look at whatever systems are giving us problems and be prepared for the next budget cycle,” Council Member John Ford said. Bert said he is applying for grants of up to $2,000 per camera to oset costs. Additionally, the new video system that comes with the cameras would save the city about $67,000 a year in labor and material costs, according to the agenda packet.
Council members approved additional expenses for the police department Oct. 4 to accommodate a growing number of calls for services, although the equipment upgrades were left out of budget workshops earlier this year.
BY CHANDLER FRANCE
During budget workshops in July and August, Bert did not ask the council to fund additional ocers. However, some council members raised concerns about police stang and included funding in the scal year 2021-22 budget in case the city needed it. Bert said after the council raised the concerns, he sent two ocers to a stang analysis course and did an analysis for the department. After considering factors such as the increase in calls for service, the complexity of those calls and the growing population, Bert said it is necessary for the department to grow from 20 ocers to 23. Since 2017, calls for service have increased by 21.7%, Bert said. Com- plex calls, meaning calls that involve multiple ocers or include the assistance of re or medical services, have also increased 35.8%, Bert said.
Tomball City Council approved multiple upgrades to its police department, including additional ocers and new body-worn and car-mounted cameras, at its Oct. 4 meeting. The department will add three ocers, a new vehicle and 56 total cameras, totaling more than $781,000, as well as replace four vehicles as part of the city’s eet replacement fund. Police Chief Je Bert said the reason the upgrades are needed is not because crime in the city is rising. Although violent crime is slightly up over the past ve years, Bert said crime in general is 4% below the ve- year national average. “I’m not here because crime is up,” Bert said. “I’m here because our cops are doing the right thing, arresting the right people, keeping the streets safe. I would like to bolster that.”
3 new ocers + 1 new vehicle TOTALING $365,000
56 total body-worn and vehicle-mounted cameras TOTALING $416,812
The city is applying for grants of up to $2,000 PER CAMERA to oset the cost. 4REPLACEMENT VEHICLES as part of the city’s eet replacement fund included in the budget
SOURCE: TOMBALL POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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TOMBALL MAGNOLIA EDITION • OCTOBER 2021
AT THE CAPITOL Texas Legislature passes state, congressional redistricting bills
MAPMAKING 101 Unlike some other states, Texas relies on the state Legislature to redraw districts for the Texas House, Senate, congressional districts and State Board of Education every 10 years. The redistricting process must pass through the Legislature like any other bill.
Redistricting occurs on rst regular session after census is released, but due to timing, it occurred in special session in 2021
BY JISHNU NAIR
in the rst regular session following the publication of the U.S. census, the unique timing of the 2020 census meant that redistricting had to take place during a special session. The bills await Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature as of press time. If the Legislature had not drawn maps before the session ended, Abbott would have had to call another special session. According to the state’s redistricting website, the two basic requirements for the process are that districts must have as close to equal population as possible, and districts cannot limit voting based on race, color or language group. A 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case, White v. Regester, dened “equal population” as a plan where the most populous district has at most 10% more than the ideal district population—or the state population divided by the number of districts. Populations cannot be more or less than 10% of the ideal population, the redistricting website states. An additional constraint for state House districts is the “county line rule,” which says districts cannot cross county lines, unless population size demands otherwise. However, Murray said the process allows for redistricting committees to “crack” or “pack” populations so that a party can control most of the seats. “We’re the only state that gained two seats in the country,” Murray said. “There’s immense pressure [on Republican lawmakers]
Texas lawmakers set the state’s legislative, congressional and State Board of Education districts for the next decade during the Legislature’s special session that ended Oct. 19. Texas saw growth in Hispanic, Black and Asian populations from 2010-20, according to the 2020 census. Texas’ growth resulted in two new U.S. House seats in 2021 for a total of 38 Texas representatives in Washington, D.C. Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston and former redistricting advisor to Texas’ Black legislative caucus, said minority populations also moved toward the suburbs—which could have inuenced how the maps were redrawn. “The minority populations have grown dramatically, but it has also dispersed,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of Black and brown ight to the suburbs, more than previous decades.” As of Oct. 16, Senate Bills 4 and 7 as well as House Bill 1, which redraw maps for the state Senate, State Board of Education, and state House, respectively, have passed in the House and Senate and await signage. Senate Bill 6, which redraws congressional districts, passed the Legislature on Oct. 19 following disagreements over amendments. A joint committee was called to work out the dierences. Changes to 2021 process While the Texas Constitution species the process must happen
Redistricting set on session agenda
Senate Redistricting Committee and House Redistricting Committee each draft separate maps, amendments
Senate votes on Senate committee maps and House votes on House committee maps
Senate votes on House committee maps and House votes on Senate committee maps
Maps reconciled between houses, sent to governor’s desk
IF GOVERNOR APPROVES
IF GOV. DOES NOT APPROVE
Governor vetoes bill
Governor signs maps into law
Legislature can overturn veto with two-thirds majority; if Legislature fails to overturn veto, a backup commission draws maps
Maps can be challenged in court
SOURCES: RICHARD MURRAY, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON; TEXAS LEGISLATURECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
to do something.” One change removed preclearance, which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 2013, per the redistricting website. Part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, preclearance required states with a history of racial discrimination to submit plans to the federal government for approval. Montgomery County opposesmaps Montgomery County commission- ers approved a resolution against the Texas Senate’s proposed redistricting maps released Sept. 18, citing issues with the county’s redrawn districts. The resolution cites Montgomery
County’s “rural to urban” state com- pared to “urbanized” populations. Montgomery County is currently divided into two state Senate districts. Sen. Brandon Creighton, RConroe, sits on the Senate Redis- tricting Committee. In the Senate’s rst drafted map, the county is split among District 4, Creighton’s district; District 18, which would cross the border into Waller and Grimes counties; and District 7, which would cross into Harris County and include parts of Magnolia. The Senate map approved by the Legislature splits the county between districts 4, 7, and 18.
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