Mark Mitchell has money to give away.

“It’s been 14 months since Hurricane Harvey and we know there are a significant number of Lake Houston businesses waiting for federal assistance,” Mitchell said at the Lake Houston Chamber’s Atascocita BizCom held Nov. 1 at Atascocita High School.

– More than $225,000 remains to help after Harvey –

Mitchell is president of the Lake Houston Area Economic Development Partnership, which partnered with area businesses, including The Tribune, to create the Lake Houston Area Harvey Small Business Grant Program, awarding grants to small businesses devastated by Harvey.

“We’ve awarded grants to 24 local businesses,” Mitchell said, “but we have more than $225,000 remaining in the fund. We need help identifying companies still recovering.”

Grants range from $2,500 to $5,000 and must be used to replace needed capital assets as well as working capital to supplement lost income if a business was forced to close or was inaccessible during Harvey, according to Mitchell.

“You must have been in business at least a year before Harvey, so give me a call if you think you qualify or you know someone who might,” Mitchell said. “Lake Houston is not out of the woods. We still have a lot of people not yet in their homes so that means store sales are down.”

To learn more about the Small Business Grant Program, visit lakehoustonedp.org/grant or call Mitchell at 281-319-8901.

Also speaking at Atascocita BizCom was Capt. Toby Hecker representing Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman.

“The recent deaths of two Atascocita High School girls in a drunk-driving incident has brought underaged drinking to the forefront,” Hecker said, “and Constable Herman wanted you to know what has been happening for something that is an ongoing issue.”

At least nine to 10 convenience store clerks or bartenders have been arrested since the Atascocita incident, according to Hecker, and could lead to the bar or convenience store losing its license if the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission detects a pattern.

Hecker also had holiday-shopping and gas-pumping advice.

“Constable Herman wants your holiday shopping to be safe,” Hecker said. “When you’re finished shopping at one store, put your bags in your car, then drive around and park somewhere else. Thieves will think you’ve left and move on to the next car. They notice when you put items in your car, then walk to another store.”

In response to an audience question about gas-station scammers, Hecker suggested motorists give the credit card opening a good tug before they insert their card.

“It’s hard to tell there’s an insert because it looks so real,” he said, “but if you give the opening a tug, the scanner insert will come out.”

Constable deputies are monitoring counterfeit money reports. In one recent incident, Hecker said a bill had Chinese symbols on the back.

“You’ll see many deputies out and about because our belief is that by being seen, we’ll push those crimes to somewhere else,” Hecker said.

Bush Airport joined Hobby Airport in earning a four-star rating, only the third city in the world and the only city in the U.S. with two airports with a four-star rating, according to Rhonda Arnold with the Houston Airport System.

“Now we’re going to attain five stars,” she said.

Memorial Hermann Northeast Vice-President of Operations Noel Cardenas invited the community to attend the opening of the new patient tower on the Humble campus set for Friday, Nov. 16, 1-3 p.m., and Jess Fields Jr. invited the community to view the new Cremation Garden at Rosewood Funeral Home’s Humble site.

The next Atascocita BizCom is March 7, 2019. There is no cost, but registration is required. To register for the Atascocita, Kingwood, Humble or Summer Creek BizComs, visit lakehouston.org.

Tom Broad
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Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.