In This Issue

Heights Tree Count

General Meeting - Fire Station History

Bike & Skate Rally Meeting

Fun Run Wrap-up and Results

Holiday Tour Homes Sought

Donations

New Members

Help Wanted: Newsletter

Help Wanted: Docents

Help Wanted: Musicians

National Night Out August 7

May Board Summary

HHA Seeks Relief From Condo Loophole

County Programs Seeks Advocates for Elders

Calendars

Staff and Contributors

Copyright

logo for The Heights
Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association
Volume Thirty-Three, Number Seven, July 2007
Click here for the print-format PDF version.
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Heights Trees Count! - Phase 2

Did you know that our street trees belong to everyone - and that these trees are the foundation of our Heights Urban Forest? The Heights has the most Champion and magnificent 100-year-old trees in Houston. Enjoy an early morning walk to appreciate our rare neighborhood treasure.

Join us for a working walk through our Heights Urban Forest with the City of Houston’s Urban Forester Victor Cordoba and the San Jacinto Council Girl Scouts! Volunteers are invited to help Victor update our Heights Street Tree Inventory.

Our Heights Urban Forest is a remarkable natural resource. Trees provide natural pollution mitigation, are natural sources for flood control, and supply a habitat for wild birds. A Champion Tree can reduce scorching summer heat by 30 degrees - so protecting our urban forest is a natural!

Enjoy refreshments from Starbuck’s at 610 & Nicholson. Participants will receive tree brochures, and information will be available for everyone.

This family fun day in the Heights Urban Forest begins at the Fire Station at 7:30 AM on Sunday, July 29. Pick up your four-block assignment and return the completed form to the Fire Station by 11:00 AM.

This time around, we’ll be counting trees on the west side of the HHA area from White Oak to 20th, from Yale to Nicholson. (See map.) The third phase of the count will be held on October 6, counting trees on the north end. The start and end point will again be the Fire Station.

Sign up now! Contact adewree@earthlink.net.

General Meeting

The topic for the July program will be the history and renovation of the 1914 Houston Heights Fire Station and City Hall.

In 1961 Paul Carr started his career with the Houston Fire Department as a Pipe and Ladderman at the Heights fire house. Paul will discuss life in the ’60s at the fire house and provide a history of the building as the city hall of the town of Houston Heights.

Bob Pearson, who chairs the committee overseeing the Fire Station, will recount how HHA leased the building from the City of Houston, renovated it extensively, uses it currently for its own meetings and events, and rents it out to others.

If you have interesting anecdotes or information about the Fire Station, either before Paul’s time there or after, please come to the meeting and share them. Please join us at 7:00 PM on Monday, July 9.

Heights Bike and Skate Rally Meeting

The first meeting of the HHA Bike Rally committee was held on June 12. Some changes are being made to this year’s event.

There will be two routes this year. One will be 16 miles long, and the other will be 24 miles. Everyone who finishes either route will be eligible for prizes.

The registration fee was changed. On-line pre-registration will be $7.50 for 12 & under and $15.00 for adults. Day-of-event registration will be $10.00 for 12 & under and $20.00 for adults.

The hours of the event were also changed. The rally will start at 7:30 AM on Oct. 7 and end at 4:00 PM.

The next Bike Rally committee meeting will be at 6:30 PM at the Fire Station on July 10.

Platinum Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following 2007 Platinum sponsors:

Allied Waste San Jacinto Stone

Heights Fun Run Wrap-up

The 22nd Annual Houston Heights Fun Run took place on June 2 and was a very successful community event. The event, sponsored by the Houston Heights Association, occurs every year on the first Saturday in June. Proceeds are used to help maintain the public facilities owned and/or maintained by the Houston Heights Association (HHA). The HHA owns and maintains Marmion and Donovan Parks and maintains the esplanade on Heights Blvd.

The event included a 5K run, along with a walk and a children’s 1K run. Prizes were given out to the Overall Open and Master Male and Female winners, as well as the top three finishers of each 10-year age block for male and female categories. [See list at right.] This year there were 750 runners, and the weather cooperated fully. The post-race party at Marmion Park included plenty of breakfast tacos, bagels, fresh fruit, iced and hot coffee, sports drinks, lemonade, and of course plenty of water. Door prizes of various sorts were given out to those whose names were drawn from the lot. Peter Manry contributed his music and announcing skills to make sure things were hopping.

Many volunteers were instrumental in making the event so successful, but a few people who did so much to make sure all went well need to be recognized. Addie Spicer, Byron Pettit, Jody Roberts, Genie Mims, Gerald Melancon, and Mark Williamson arranged food, drink, prizes, brochures, publicity, music, and so many things that have to be done in advance (and worked at the event, too!!). Kent Marsh, Sharie Beale, Tony Riedel, Lauriel Hindman, Keith Crane, Taylor Moore, and Chris Synek also did essential preparation and event work.

As usual the regular professionals came through for the event: Ryan Race Management, Pat Nelson, SignMeUp, First Response Medic, Peter Manry, and the fabulous officers of Jack Abercia’s Precinct 1 Constable Office.

Event sponsors include Allied Waste, San Jacinto Stone, Bullseye Storage, First National Bank, Greenwood King, and Harry James Builders. Generous contributors of food and services were Berryhill in The Heights, Fiesta Markets, Jakes Finer Foods, Katz Coffee, Luke’s Locker Exercise Solutions, Silver Eagle Distributors, Spanish Flower Restaurant, and The Hot Bagel Shop.

Thanks again for your support and help.

[Thanks also to President Jim Potter for chairing the event. -Editor]

Fun Run Results

Overall Male: Anthony Green, 16:22. Overall Female: Diana Hirst, 18:48.

Male Master: Joe Flores, 16:36. Female Master: Helen Grant, 19:39

14 and under: (Male) Aaron Wheathall, 24:51, Benjamin Wheathall, 25:49, Kevin Saltiel, 28:19; (Female) Tobey Folk, 26:01, Elizabeth Wheathall, 27:35, Aubrey Cloutier, 27:55.

15-19: (Male) Josh Lopez, 16:31, Christopher Jessett, 16:46, Andy Welch, 20:11; (Female) Kendall Popelsky, 31:51, Amanda Assazi, 32:02, Sarah Bransfurd, 38:46.

20-29: (Male) Brian King, 18:09, Andrew Moody, 19:30, Preston Perry, 20:38; (Female) Katie Muto, 21:14, Laura Crochett, 22:01, Emily Powell, 24:32.

30-39: (Male) Scott Grigchow, 17:06, Carlo Deason, 17:47, Doug Schroeder, 18:11; (Female) Kerri Snyder, 20:34, Karien Goodwin, 20:54, Cortney Richa, 21:36.

40-49: (Male) John McKim, 17:09, Michael Wheathall, 17:23, Nicholas Purday, 17:35; (Female) Lisa Tilton-McCarthy, 19:45, Heidi Mairs, 20:18, Melissa Hurta, 20:34.

50-59: (Male) Ted Traynor, 18:52, Larry Tidwell, 18:57, Rich Yanacek, 19:21; (Female) Patricia Felder, 22:20, Nora Wilson, 23:08, Patricia Totten, 24:48.

60-69: (Male) Don Brenner, 21:54, David Parro, 22:10, Tom Woltz, 22:25; (Female) Susan Lorms, 28:14, Linda Kelley, 34:34, Susan Sessions, 36:08.

70 and over: (Male) Ino Cantu, 21:04, Lou Wilson, 28:58, Ray Boytim, 31:20; (Female) Anne Strong, 48:03, Bertie Jo Moore, 51:20.

Holiday Tour Homes Sought

The Heights Holiday Home Tour Committee is looking for beautiful homes dressed for the holidays to include in the tour, which is scheduled for November 30 and December 1. If you are interested in volunteering your home for this fundraiser, please contact Marianne at 713-703-7658.

Help Wanted: Newsletter

The Newsletter Committee is looking for one or more people to work with us now and be ready to take over as Editor and/or production team next year (when your current Editor is scheduled to be President). Useful skills include gathering or creating stories and pictures, proofreading, print/pdf page layout, and web page layout. Current production flow uses Adobe InDesign CS2 and GoLive CS2 in Macintosh environment; conversion to CS3 suite is contemplated. Please email Mark Williamson at editor@houstonheights.org.

Help Wanted: Holiday Docents

Want to attend the Heights Holiday Home Tour for free? Volunteer to be a docent and receive a free ticket. Call Marianne at 713-703-7658 for details.

Help Wanted: Holiday Musicians

The Heights Holiday Home Tour Committee is seeking musicians of all kinds to add a little Holiday Cheer to the porches of our tour homes. If you are interested in performing, please call Marianne at 713-703-7658.

Donations

Our thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.

Kathryn & Jerome Baumeister - Boulevard

Tom & Dana Bellow - Parks Maintenance

Gene & Delores Burns - Boulevard

Lynn Chapieski - Boulevard

Gary & Brenda Eskelson - Boulevard

Karla Holomon - Flower Gardens

Genevieve Mounger - Boulevard

New Members

Please welcome the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.

Rex & Karen Adams

Sari & Tim Fried-Fiori

Shana & Scott Gerosa

Maximum Furniture & Reupholstery, Marie Dang

Mitchell McFarland

Northwest Chiropractic Center, George Junkin

Ace & Laura Schlameus

Silver Sponsor

The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Summer 2007 Silver Sponsor:

August 7 Is National Night Out

The 24th Annual National Night Out is set for Tuesday, August 7 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. We encourage individual blocks or small areas to plan local events. Start talking to your neighbors and planning an event on your block.

National Night Out (NNO) 2006 involved 35.2 million people in 11,125 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. National Night Out 2007 is expected to be the largest ever.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relations; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back.

Along with the traditional display of front porch outdoor lights and front porch outdoor vigils, cities, towns, and neighborhoods celebrate National Night out with a variety of special citywide and neighborhood events such as block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals, visits from local law enforcement, safety fairs, and youth events.

NNO is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in partnership with Target and the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The City of Houston and Houston Police Department have been taking part in National Night Out for 23 years and have won numerous awards for large-city participation.

Please visit http://www.nationalnightout.org/ for national information and http://www.houstontx.gov/police/nno07.htm for citywide information.

May Board Summary

by Janet Buchheit, Secretary

President-elect Mark Williamson calls the meeting to order at 6:35 PM. Education Committee Chairs Sheila Tybor and Karen Derr report to the board on projects that the Education Committee has planned and the need for the Education Committee budget to be reviewed and increased.

The minutes from the previous meeting are amended and approved. Treasurer Jim DePitts gives the financial report. A comprehensive report of the Spring Holiday Home & Garden Tour will be given at the June board meeting. Graffiti in Donovan Park and Marmion Park is a very serious problem and costs about $1,000-$1,500 a month to be abated. Jim reports that the Heights First Saturday participants would like to see some changes made in the way the group conducts its business with the Houston Heights Association. The Audit Report is voted on and accepted by the board.

Laura Thorp reviews with the board the changes to Section 7 (Committees) of the HHA Policy Manual, and the board votes to accept those changes. Corporate Structure and Organizational Finance will be discussed at the June board meeting.

Angela DeWree reports that the tree count for the west side of Heights Boulevard has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 29 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The Fun Run is discussed. The meeting adjourns at 8:00 PM.

[Please note that HHA Board meetings are held at the Fire Station on third Mondays and are included in the calendar at the end of each issue of the newsletter. HHA members are welcome to observe Board meetings but do not generally participate unless invited to do so. -Editor]

Bronze Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Summer 2007 Bronze Sponsors:

HHA Seeks Relief From Condo Loophole

The Houston Heights Association is joining other groups like Historic Houston in asking Mayor White and Houston City Council to find a way to close the condominium loophole that allows developers to skirt the intent of the minimum lot size ordinance. The request was made in a formal letter from HHA President Jim Potter to Mayor White (below) just prior to the Houston Planning Commission’s approval of a 14-unit, four-story condo project on a lot size protected block at White Oak and Cortlandt.

More than 50 blocks in Houston Heights have successfully applied for lot size protection under the ordinance. Residents were promised the ordinance would protect them from incompatible development. They are now learning the ordinance provides no protection at all. According to the City legal department, a condominium project is built on one large tract of jointly owned land. Therefore, it is technically not a violation of the minimum lot size ordinance. A Texas Attorney General’s opinion seems to contradict the city’s position, ruling that condo projects do in fact require a subdivision plat. The city legal department is so far not swayed by the state’s ruling.

You can help with this effort by writing Mayor White and City Council to politely ask that this problem be solved. Residents deserve the protection they were promised.

County Program Seeks Advocates For Elders

The Harris County Long-Term Care Ombudsman program trains volunteers to help enhance the quality of life for nursing home and assisted living residents by becoming trained state-certified ombudsmen. An ombudsman is an advocate who works with residents, family members, and staff to bring about changes in the long-term care of elders by helping them to exercise their right to dignity, self-determination, and quality care.

If you are able to listen compassionately and employ effective problem-solving techniques, this rewarding, long-term volunteer commitment may be for you. Initial ombudsman training, periodic continuing education, and ongoing volunteer support are provided.

For more information, please visit the program website at http://son.uth.tmc.edu/coa/ombudsman.htm or call 713-500-9932.

[original on HHA letterhead]

June 20, 2007

The Honorable Bill White
Mayor
City of Houston
901 Bagby
Houston, TX 77002

Dear Mr. Mayor:

I am writing on behalf of the Houston Heights Association to ask that the City follow through on its promise to find a remedy for the so-called condo loophole in the Minimum Lot Size Ordinance that allows developers to skirt the intent of the law by building condominium projects on blocks with lot size protection.

It has been more than half a year since a builder applied to create an unrestricted reserve on a block in Sunset Heights with lot size protection. Residents were promised the problem would be fixed but there appears to have been no progress toward a solution. Now another developer is requesting Planning Commission approval of an unrestricted reserve to allow for construction of a 14-unit, four-story condo project in the 600 block of Cortlandt in the Houston Heights, a block that was among the first to seek lot size protection, winning City Council approval of its application in 2002.

The residents of the 600 block of Cortlandt and the 700 block of E. 10th St. and residents all over Houston who have successfully petitioned for lot size protection were led to believe they were protecting the character of their single-family neighborhoods from future incompatible development. In truth, every block with lot size protection is a sitting duck for an unsympathetic developer who desires to build dense, multi-family condominiums or incompatible commercial development. Indeed, the proposed project in the 600 block of Cortlandt is in stark contrast to the single-family residential character of the rest of the block. In fact, immediately adjacent to the property on which this four-story condo project is planned, sits a 1920s bungalow that was completely remodeled in 1998. What future buyer would want to purchase a single-family home with four stories of condos towering over it?

The original author of the law, City Controller Annise Parker, has stated it was the clear intent of City Council that the lot size and building line ordinances provide some protection to single-family neighborhoods in a City without zoning. The 600 block of Cortlandt is the latest victim of the City’s failure to ensure the language in the ordinance accurately reflects council’s intent. As long as the condo loophole exists, they won’t be the last victims. Please move quickly to keep the promise to close this gaping loophole so the residents of the Houston Heights and other neighborhoods can rest assured their hard work has not been in vain.

Cc: Houston City Council, Houston Planning Commission, Marlene Gafrick, Houston Planning Director, City Controller Annise Parker

Calendar of Events for July-August 2007

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

1

2

HHA Land Use, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

3

HHA Urban Forestry Group, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

4

Independence Day

5

6

7

Heights 1st Saturday

8

9 - recycling

HHA General Meeting “Fire Station History,” 7:00 PM, Fire Station

10

HHA Bike Rally meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

11

12

13

Deadline for August newsletter

14

15

16

HHA Board Meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

17

18

19

20

21

22

23 - recycling

HHA Education Committee, 7:00 PM, Fire Station

24

25

PIP meeting, 6:30 PM, 1602 State Street

26

27

28

29

Heights Tree Count, 7:30 AM, Fire Station

30

31

August 1

2

3

4

Heights 1st Saturday

White Linen Night, 6-10PM

5

6 - recycling

HHA Land Use, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

7

Urban Forestry Group, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

National Night Out

8

9

10

Deadline for September newsletter

11

12

13

HHA General Meeting, Topic TBA, 7:00 PM, Fire Station

14

HHA Bike Rally meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

15

16

17

18

19

20 - recycling

HHA Board Meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

21

22

PIP Meeting, 7:00 PM, 1602 State Street

23

24

25

26

27

HHA Education Committee, 6:30 PM, Fire Station

28

29

30

31

September 1

Heights 1st Saturday

HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.

Community Calendar

Events planned by other community organizations.

July, various dates and locations, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Houston offers Camp Buckeroo, a week-long day camp tailored to children with all types of disabilities.

July 1-6, United Cerebral Palsy offers Camp Smiles, a week-long overnight camp for children with cerebral palsy. For more information on either UCP program, contact Erin Houder, 713-838-9050 x309 or ehauder@ucphouston.org.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. During the month of July, it will also be open the same hours on Thursday and Friday. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site www.historichouston.org for more information.

Future History

October 7, Bicycle/Skate Rally

November 30 - December 1, Holiday Home Tour

February 24, 2008, Awards Dinner

April 4-6, Spring Home Tour

June 7, Fun Run

The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.

Copyright 2007, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.

Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:

Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;

email editor@houstonheights.org; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.

Staff and Contributors

Editor: Mark R. Williamson

Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson

July contributors:

Denise Atkerson, Janet Buchheit, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Janice Evans-Davis, Lauriel Hindman, Genie Mims, Jim Potter, Howie Ryan, Marianne Sulser.