Red Lobster reopened recently after closing due to damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey. To celebrate, Red Lobster hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony with team members and local officials. The Red Lobster in Humble has been a staple in the community since it first opened its doors on Sept. 30, 1980. After closing abruptly as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Red Lobster decided to not only repair the Humble restaurant from storm-related damages, but to remodel elements that will give guests a refreshed dining experience.

The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a social media campaign encouraging the entire Lake Houston Area community to write and email their elected officials with three immediate actions (remediation, reduction and representation) that will aid in flood prevention and recovery efforts in the Lake Houston Area. To join the #PleaFor3LakeHouston movement and help #RecoverLakeHouston, go to to email legislators and for more information about the campaign. Also, join the Facebook group, Recover Lake Houston, for updates on the campaign.

Kimes Ranch Jeans, the leader in premium Western denim, is now available at Boot Barn in Humble. Kimes Ranch chose its most popular denim styles, Dillon and Cal, for Boot Barn customers, along with some of their famous longhorn brand-bearing caps, tees and hoodies. “Men fall in love with Kimes Ranch for the longhorn brand but they become a customer for life when they wear our jeans,” said Lindsay Perraton, director of marketing for Kimes Ranch. “It’s really a product that you have to wear to feel the difference. They look better, feel better and last longer than other jeans and now more men will have the opportunity to try them on by having them at Boot Barn.”

Grand Texas, located on Highway 242 and Interstate 69, held a groundbreaking ceremony for Big Rivers Waterpark and Gator Bayou Adventure Park Dec. 14. Big Rivers will comprise the largest lazy river in the Houston area; the largest interactive play structure in Texas; a wave pool capable of generating the tallest waves in Houston; and a variety of waterslides and activities for guests of all ages. Gator Bayou will provide zip lines, challenge courses, nature trails, a seven-story, free fall tower, additional water attractions and eco-tourism activities. Grand Texas recently begun construction of a Best Western Premier hotel which is expected to open this summer. A 24-hour urgent care and a casual dining restaurant have also taken steps to begin construction.

After closing only six weeks after its initial grand opening July 12 due to Hurricane Harvey, Salata reopened in Kingwood Dec. 14. On that day, 100 percent of the sales were donated to the Houston Food Bank and its Hurricane Harvey disaster relief programs. Salata offers an array of lettuces, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, seeds, nuts, chicken, seafood and vegan proteins. All dressings, soups and sauces are house-made and preservative-free. The eatery will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday. Guests will be able to take advantage of the 2,800 square feet of dining space, including 70 seats and an additional 30 seats on the outdoor patio.

AT&T is celebrating a new 4,900-square-foot, entertainment-focused retail store in New Caney. The new store illustrates the intersection of content and connection. Reps will demonstrate how services, like DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW, and products can add value to shoppers’ connected life. Phones have been moved off the walls to the center of the store to make it easier to compare and choose. Prominent are two focus areas to show the most popular brands that have products like AR glasses, tablets and smartwatches that work with your smartphone. The new store in New Caney is located at 11971 N. Grand Pkwy., Suite 500. The hours of operation are: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.

State sales tax revenue totaled $2.78 billion in November, 11.1 percent more than in November 2016. Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in November 2017 was up 9.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax revenue is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 58 percent of all tax collections. Motor vehicle sales and rental taxes, motor fuel taxes, and oil and natural gas production taxes also are large revenue sources for the state. In November 2017, Texas collected the following revenue from those taxes: motor vehicle sales and rental taxes – $415.3 million, up 9.2 percent from November 2016 (vehicle purchases to replace cars damaged by Hurricane Harvey continued to boost those tax collections); motor fuel taxes – $308.2 million, up 1.7 percent from November 2016; and oil and natural gas production taxes – $354.6 million, up 39.9 percent from November 2016.

Port Houston terminals handled nearly 35 million tons of cargo through November, representing a nine percent increase versus the same period last year. The main drivers for this growth include containers and steel imports, noted Roger Guenther, executive director. “Steel volumes continue to trend upward, totaling 3.4 million tons, reflecting a 57 percent increase compared to the same period last year,” Guenther said. Container activity remains solid, showing a growth of 14 percent year on year. “We expect to pass the 2.4 million TEU container mark by the end of this year,” said Guenther. He noted that this was a milestone achievement for the port, especially considering challenges including loss of time and labor hours due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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