TOP 10: These were the most read stories of 2019 on communityimpact.com

Richard Andrews, grandson of Potatoe Patch’s original owners, Richard and Caroline Schaffer, took ownership of the restaurant in August. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Richard Andrews, grandson of Potatoe Patch’s original owners, Richard and Caroline Schaffer, took ownership of the restaurant in August. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)

Richard Andrews, grandson of Potatoe Patch’s original owners, Richard and Caroline Schaffer, took ownership of the restaurant in August. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)

1. Original owners’ grandson restores roll-throwing restaurant, Potatoe Patch, to former glory

Original story posted Dec. 9

Known to the Greater Houston area as the “home of throw’d rolls,” Potatoe Patch was first opened by Richard and Caroline Schaffer in 1988.

2. A $100,000 teacher salary, an extended school year incentive program: 5 education items to watch in the Texas Legislature

Original story posted Jan. 4


State legislators were tasked with making improvements to the Texas school finance system before the session began in January.

3. High-speed bullet train between Dallas and Houston could be operational by 2025, company representative says

Original story posted Jan. 17

Commuters between Dallas and Houston could have a less expensive, more convenient alternative to flying by 2025.

4. Perfect Game, a sports venue and mixed-use development, expected to add $200M yearly to Hutto’s economy

Original story posted April 19

The project is expected to pump $200 million annually into the local community. The current economic generation of Hutto today is around $30 million.

5. Texas Renaissance Festival announces 2019 dates, themes

Original story posted March 8

The Texas Renaissance Festival returned for its 45th season Oct. 5-Dec. 1 to the 55-acre festival grounds in Todd Mission.

6. Flood map: See which Houston streets have flooded the most since 2016

Original story posted Sept. 18

The 311 call logs offer one way to view flood patterns across the city, where streets can flood even during minor rain events.

7. Homeowners to pay full roof replacement deductible under new law

Original story posted Aug. 9

Under Texas House Bill 2102 approved in the most recent legislative session, roofing contractors who offer to waive a homeowner’s deductible on their property insurance policy could face jail time.

8. Hwy. 6 bridge demolition process to begin Aug. 30 in Cy-Fair with major closures planned

Original story posted Aug. 29

The bridge demolition is part of a larger project that will ultimately involve building a new flyover bridge connecting Hwy. 6 to FM 1960 over Hwy. 290.

9. Amazon 4-star store opening in Frisco

Original story posted Aug. 4

The Amazon 4-star store offers products that are top sellers, have received four or more stars, or are new and trending. Products include books, games, electronics, toys, kitchen and home goods, and more.

10. Here’s a list of nonprofits with volunteer opportunities in Central Austin

Original story posted Dec. 14, 2016

Nonprofit organizations in Central Austin allow residents to give back throughout the year.
By Marie Leonard
Marie came to Community Impact Newspaper in June 2011 after starting her career at a daily newspaper in East Texas. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Cy-Fair edition for nearly 5 years covering Harris County, Cy-Fair ISD, and local development and transportation news. She then moved to The Woodlands edition and covered local politics and development news in the master-planned community before being promoted to managing editor for the South Houston editions in July 2017.

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MOST RECENT

Eleven days after officials across Harris County's criminal justice system met to discuss how to alleviate overcrowding at the county jail during the coronavirus pandemic, progress has been "excruciatingly slow," according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
Progress 'excruciatingly slow' on effort to address overcrowding at Harris County Jail

"I know it is keeping many of us awake at night, and it should. It absolutely should," said U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who is presiding over an ongoing lawsuit dealing with the county's felony bail practices.

Texas Medical Center offers coronavirus updates

More than 118,000 people have received their first shot.

Harris County Flood Control District is planning to submit preliminary flood plain maps to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in late 2021. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County's preliminary flood plain maps to be released in late 2021

The new flood insurance rates in Harris County could take effect in 2023 or 2024.

vaccine drive-thru
Houston opens first drive-thru vaccination site

The site aims to distribute 1,000 doses per day for the first week and can scale up if more doses become available.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the opening of a COVID-19 vaccine waitlist at a Jan. 25 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook)
Harris County to open waitlist for COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 26

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned that vaccine supply remains "extremely limited," and it will still take time for those waitlisted to get an appointment.

There are a total of nine existing vaccine hub sites across Harris County and Galveston County. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
NEW: Clear Creek ISD, Harris County Public Health to use Challenger Columbia Stadium parking lot as vaccine hub

The stadium is one of eight rotating sites; it will be operational Jan. 27-30.

Eric Williams started as superintendent Jan. 18. (Courtesy of Clear Creek ISD)
Eric Williams concludes first week as Clear Creek ISD superintendent

Williams plans to spend his first months on the job discovering how the district can sustain and build on its quality of education.

“Hope is on the horizon,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said at a press conference Jan. 4. “The vaccine is here.”
Vaccine distribution starts in Fort Bend County and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Houston area.

One local health system leader said he expects everyone, including those under age 65, will have access to the vaccine within the next 90 days. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-area health system leaders talk progress, hurdles during COVID-19

Officials from CHI St. Luke’s Health and UTMB Health said community members must remain vigilant as case counts climb but that they expect the current surge to peak by early February.

During a North Houston Association meeting Jan. 20, Jazz Hamilton—first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services Group for CBRE—discussed how the future of retail will likely be shaped by the conveniences to which consumers have become accustomed amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pandemic-induced retail conveniences are here to stay, official says

According to Jazz Hamilton, first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services group for CBRE, between January and November of 2020, consumers spent almost $550 billion online—a 33% increase from 2019.

The estimated number of active COVID-19 cases in Harris County has surpassed 50,000, reaching 51,362 as of the most recent data Jan. 20, according to the Harris County Public Health Department. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Active cases top 50,000

See the latest trends on COVID-19 in Harris County.