In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Five, Number Eight, August 2009|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
White Linen Night Heats Up The Heights
Discover The Heights’ treasures - markets, art galleries, shops, music, food, and more. Billed by the organizers as sultry, steamy, exotic, and artfully provocative, it’s coming again from 6:00 to 10:00 PM on Saturday, August 1.
Invite your friends to the best event in the Heights. Join one of the smaller pre-parties, or an after-party for a new experience. It’s the best thing happening in the Heights. And the only thing in August. Sign up online as a participant to get your own 3’x5’ White Linen Flag to fly at your home or business.
New this year: Parties! Get tickets online now. For the first time on WLN, there will be an exclusive pre-party at Glass Wall the Restaurant with multiple food and wine pairings by Lance Fegen and Shepard Ross from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Tickets are available online. Get them while they last! Another new pre-party will be at 2125 Yale, catered by Shade’s famous Claire Smith from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, by reservation online only. And for a fitting end to a great event, our first after-party at the new Block 7 from 10:00 PM to Midnight. Tickets are available online at .
The event: Visitors wear white linen, discover Heights treasures, and take to the streets of the Heights. The event, a celebration of art, culture, and community, will offer cooling summer drinks, entertainment, boutiques and shops, art galleries, some of the best restaurants in Houston, and eclectic bars -- with free pedi-cabs and shuttles for transportation. White Linen Night banners will identify the participating shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Questions? Email or . Houston Heights White Linen Night is a project of the Business Committee of the Houston Heights Association.
The program at the August General Meeting of the Houston Heights Association will be “That’s Entertainment - in The Heights.” Partake in the rich mosaic of Theatre, Music, and Film opportunities of the Heights. Representatives and Executive Directors will be here from Da Camera, Aurora Picture Show, Opera in the Heights, HITS Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, Masquerade Theatre, and the amazing Puppet Pizzaz!
Enjoy a special performance from “Violet” by the adult alumni cast of HITS Theatre. Very Special Thanks to Kim Bridge of Pinks Pizza for providing the evening’s refreshments!
Everyone is invited. Don’t miss this late-summer evening of entertainment in the Heights!
7:00 PM on Monday, August 10, at the Historic Houston Heights Fire Station and City Hall, Yale and 12th Streets.
The September 14 meeting program will be on bicycling, as we look ahead to the Bike Rally in October. Look for further details in our next issue.
Director Election Schedule
Five of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election over the next few months. These five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms.
The five nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes will fill the three-year terms. See the right column for a list of current Directors.
The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2010 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:
• September 14, Nominations for Board of Directors will be held at the General Meeting. Nominators and nominees must be current members of the Association. Nominators may speak for two minutes, seconders for one. Please be sure before you nominate someone that your nominee is willing to commit to serve. Nominees will not be allowed to speak on their own behalf during the September meeting.
• By September 16, the Election Committee will distribute to nominees election packets containing bylaws, policies, articles of incorporation, committee responsibility list, detailed election schedule, and a statement confirming that the nominee has read the bylaws and policies and agrees to serve in accordance with them if elected.
• By September 19, signed statements from nominees are due, as well as a 50-word statement from each nominee for publication in the October newsletter.
• October 12, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications at the General Meeting for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions.
• On or before October 15, the Election Committee will mail a ballot with a control number to each member whose dues are current as of October 1.
• By November 7 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.
• November 9, polls will be open for secret balloting in person from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM before the General Meeting. The Election Committee will tabulate ballots and announce the results during the meeting. The results will also be published in the December newsletter.
2009 HHA Board
Each one of these individuals has a great passion for our unique and wonderful community. They serve as volunteers, while balancing work, family, and often numerous other commitments. A sincere “thank you” to each and every member.
Directors whose terms are expiring are indicated by an asterisk in parentheses.
Bill Baldwin (*)
Janice Evans-Davis (*)
Christine Spin (*)
Bart Truxillo (*)
Lanna von Baden
Mark Williamson (*)
Heights Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt
The 4th Annual Heights Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt will be held on Sunday, October 4. This year’s rally will start and end at Marmion Park on Heights Blvd at 18th.
Riders can start anytime after 7:30 AM, but must finish the ride and check in by 4:00 PM to be eligible for prizes. There will be one combination checkpoint and water station near the mid-point on the ride. This year’s 20-mile rally route will pass through the East End of Houston and will include the Harrisburg “Rails-to-Trails” Bike Trail. There will be live music in Kaiser Pavilion in Marmion Park for the end-of-rally party.
Early registration for adults is $15.00, children (12 & under) $7.50. On the day of the event, registration will be $20 for adults $20.00 and $10 for children. You can register online until October 1 at or by mail to Houston Heights Association, PO Box 70735, Houston 77270-0735 (postmarked by September 30).
For more information, visit . You can contact the Rally Chairman, Paul Carr, at or 713-869-0505.
You Can Help Fight Graffiti
The Heights Anti-Graffiti Squad has been quietly working away in the background for the last six years reducing graffiti over 99%. From the North Loop to I-10 and from Durham to I-45, they cover 13 square miles of the city. This wildly successful program is all-volunteer by Heights residents who are honored to give their time to keep our community a beautiful place to live. The “Squad” will be hosting the 2009 annual paint drive and fund raiser on Saturday, August 22, from 8:00 AM to noon outside the Heights Library, which is located at 13th and Heights Boulevard.
You can help keep our community looking as wonderful as it does by bringing any gently used cans or buckets of latex paint, cans of spray paint, and empty clean 5-gallon buckets. Monetary donations can be made through cash, checks, and gift cards and will be graciously accepted on site. Those funds are used to purchase gasoline, filters and repair parts. You can also send donations to Houston Heights Association, Inc. at P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735; please note “Graffiti Squad” on the memo line.
After six years of service, the paint sprayer is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Advancements in technology and design have made it obsolete. The sprayer was 10 years old when it was first donated to the Squad, and has served its purpose well. A new sprayer will cost $1500 and is expected to give many years of faithful service, keeping the Squad going strong and the Heights a great place to live.
The Heights Anti-Graffiti Squad can be reached at and at 713-880-4877. If you spot any graffiti, please contact 311 and the Squad so they can get to it quickly.
Constable Patrol Program
On May 23, 2009, the initial constable patrol program began in selected areas of the Heights. Very shortly, subscribers will receive their annual bill. We encourage you to pay promptly so we can fulfill our financial commitment on this project.
If you did not subscribe initially and wish to do so, please contact brochure for more information. for information. Please see the
HHA Urban Forestry Update
Recently planted seedlings and trees need a drink, especially during a drought. It takes up to three years for newly planted trees - large and small - to become established. So, it’s up to you to water and care for your recently planted trees and seedlings. Neighbors, local wildlife will enjoy the shade, cooler temperatures, and cleaner air that our Urban Forest provides for many years to come, thanks to you!
The Texas Forestry Service has a great tree-planting guide filled with tips and information. Learn how to identify your large tree, choose a new tree site, and once the tree is there, how to properly prune your tree for maximum health and enjoyment. Find this and more information at the Texas Forest Service’s new website.
Stayed tuned for HHA Urban Forestry News. Coming soon: Monthly Urban Forestry Garden Tours and Heights Urban Forestry Day - Saturday October 3.
A very special thanks to the Heights Community Garden at Yale and 17th Streets. Laura and Dennis Virgadamo organized and hosted a marvelous tour with their urban gardeners, who created a delicious feast from the Garden for the June HHA Urban Forestry meeting. Stop by sometime and experience this marvelous treasure in Our Heights Urban Forest.
If you have a garden to nominate for an Urban Forestry Garden Tour or would like to receive notification of HHA Urban Forestry activities, email or Angela DeWree .
Have a Great Summer in the Shade of our Heights Urban Forest!
Shop For Donovan Park
Donovan Park requires ongoing maintenance to keep it safe and desirable for our children. You can help us maintain this park when you shop at Kroger.
Present the letter at the link below to the cashier upon checkout. After they have scanned your Kroger Plus card, you will be enrolled for the current year of the Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program.
Every time you shop at Kroger and use your enrolled Kroger Plus card, Kroger will contribute a percentage of your eligible purchases to the Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Fund. Once a card is scanned with the barcode, it will be active for the remainder of the program year (approximately until April 2010).
Note that your Kroger card can only be associated with one organization at a time. A letter explaining the system more fully and a barcode that you can take with you to the store when you shop is available online
We Knew It All Along
News from the web: Houston Heights has been named as one of the Best Old House Neighborhoods for 2009 by This Old House Online. Only one neighborhood was chosen in each state. You can see our listing .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2009 Platinum sponsors:
Notes From Heights Area HISD Schools
Reagan’s Senior Class of 2009 had a whirlwind finish to their high school careers. There were finals, a senior picnic, recognition banquets, and a host of other senior events.
Then, just days before they crossed the stage, Reagan’s PTO treated over 350 seniors to the first Senior Breakfast ever held in the school’s 83-year history. Billed as a “five-star affair,” the al fresco event was organized by PTO President Hazel Willis and a team of dedicated PTO members and Reagan staff. Thanks to the generosity of the local business community, the event (right) was a huge success with countless donations of services, prepared food, volunteers, and even door prizes. The PTO’s goal - to make the event a memorable one - was prompted by anticipation that the new alumni will remember to give back to their community.
Now that graduation is over and the figures are in, Reagan grads did quite well again this year in the scholarship department. Seniors were awarded 261 academic scholarships totaling over $1.3 million. Project Grad scholarships were earned by 134 seniors and accounted for over a half a million dollars. As a Project Grad campus, Reagan students can earn a $4000 non-binding scholarship by attending Summer Institute and Leadership workshops. We wish the Class of 2009 continued success in their future endeavors!
In late May, Hamilton MS and the Heights community lost a dedicated teacher and long-time resident with the passing of Tamara Taylor, 39. A favorite teacher of many students, Ms. Taylor taught social studies for 13 years in Hamilton’s Vanguard program and also coached girls soccer and volleyball teams. This year, she taught the eighth grade Peer Leadership classes where she advised students in the completion of a variety of community projects. In recognition of her many contributions to Hamilton, the Hamilton PTO has established the “Tamara Taylor Memorial Fund” which will be used for student scholarships and activities. For more information, please contact the school office at 713-802-4725 or .
Channel 8 Mortgage Crisis Initiative
Every day more and more area families lose their homes because they can’t afford larger mortgage payments. In Texas, the number of foreclosures increased 14% in 2008, with Harris County leading the state with a total of 22,607 foreclosure filings. A majority of those facing foreclosure are not seeking assistance because they don’t know where to turn for help.
In response, HoustonPBS/Channel 8 is launching Facing the Mortgage Crisis, a community engagement initiative designed to connect area residents to trusted foreclosure-prevention resources that can help. Channel 8 will air a series of short, informative on-air spots, each answering a question frequently asked by homeowners. On August 4 at 7:00 PM, Patricia Gras will host a live, hour-long special called Facing the Mortgage Crisis: A HoustonPBS Town Hall Meeting, exploring issues important to homeowners threatened with foreclosure. Specialists from nonprofit organizations will be on hand to guide viewers through these issues. During the program, viewers can call in with their questions. Questions may be submitted in advance by e-mail at . The program will be rebroadcast August 9 at 4:00 PM.
Residents can find resources on the HoustonPBS Facing the Mortgage Crisis web site. The site contains all of the information presented on-air, including the phone number for help: the United Way’s 2-1-1.
Assisting HoustonPBS with Facing the Mortgage Crisis are the United Way of Greater Houston, Houston Community Newspapers, and the Houston Foreclosure Prevention Task Force.
Heights CERT 102 Class
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training is coming to the Heights on September 29, 2009. Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00, for eight successive weeks ending November 17, in the West End Multi Service Center, 170 Heights Boulevard. CERT is free and open to the community - Sign up Today!
Although disasters are relatively unexpected and unpredictable, their effects are not. We have seen, all too often, how quickly disasters (e.g., Hurricane IKE) can impact our “normal” lives. Roads become impassable, critical services are impacted or cut off, professional emergency response agencies quickly become overwhelmed, and people are left on their own for an extended period of time. Awareness and preparedness is the answer to how to keep yourself, your family, and your neighbors safe in emergencies of all kinds. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training will help you become more aware and better prepared to face the inevitable storm.
CERT offers free 24-hour training (in 3-hour modules - 8 sessions) taught by professional first responders, i.e., Fire, EMS, and Emergency Management Personnel as well as the FBI. Weekly topics include general disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, basic medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism awareness. CERT Team members learn how to organize as a team to do the most good for the greatest number of people. The training concludes with a mock search and rescue drill where CERT team members can practice skills introduced throughout the training.
Don’t wait until the NEXT STORM is approaching to think about your safety and that of your family. Sign up for CERT training today! To sign up for training, call Peggy Lindow (Heights CERT Team Coordinator) at 832-752-5285 or .
Please tell your friends!
GHPA Opens Nominations For 2010 Good Brick Awards
Greater Houston Preservation Alliance (GHPA) is now accepting nominations for the 2010 Good Brick Awards for excellence in historic preservation. Updated guidelines and nomination forms are available online as a Microsoft Word document and in PDF format . To qualify, projects must be located within Harris County and must have been completed within the last three years.
Although anyone may submit a nomination, the nominee must be the property owner(s). All entries must be received at GHPA’s office by 3:00 PM on Friday, September 11, 2009.
A jury of preservation and design professionals, community leaders, and past award winners will judge the entries. Former Houston Chronicle home design editor and GHPA Board member Madeleine McDermott Hamm is chairing the awards jury. The Good Brick Awards will be presented during GHPA’s Cornerstone Dinner on Friday evening February 5, 2010.
Greater Houston Preservation Alliance has presented the Good Brick Awards since 1979 to recognize outstanding local contributions to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of Houston’s architectural and cultural heritage. GHPA is funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Call for Mayor’s Proud Partner Awards Nominations
Keep Houston Beautiful is now accepting nominations for the 25th Annual Mayor’s Proud Partner Awards. You are invited to submit your nomination online for an individual or group project completed in the past year that you consider worthy of this prestigious honor.
Examples of eligible types of nominated project would include the following:
You have about three weeks left to prepare your electronic nomination. Please visit to access the online application form and the Call for Entries. Your entry application must be entered online by Friday, August 21, 2009. Only online submissions will be considered.
City Opinion Survey Closed
The City of Houston was interested in your opinion, but the survey described in the print and PDF editions of this issue is now closed.
Through both random telephone surveys and online participation, the goal was to have at least 200 respondents in each of the city’s nine geographic city council districts, for a minimum of 1,800 completed questionnaires. Houston City Controller Annise D. Parker is gathering the data; once the results are tabulated, they will be available here.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Summer 2009 Bronze Sponsors:
Spotlight on Heights Business Member:
Nick’s Plumbing & Sewer Service
Richard Saad owns Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Service, Inc. Richard, a native Houstonian, grew up on the west side and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. He attended Southwest Texas State University and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with concentrations in accounting and economics. After graduation, he went to work for Morgan Stanley as a retail stockbroker. Following a four-year career, he took advantage of an opportunity and went to work at a software company as a territory representative. His earnings from that process opened up the entrepreneurial world. Richard transitioned from software to the service industry by purchasing Nick’s Plumbing & Sewer Service, Inc. in 2000.
Nick’s Plumbing opened for business in the Heights in 1979. When Richard purchased Nick’s Plumbing, he purchased an office on Ella and 24th Street and relocated the business from the original owner’s house. Facing the need to expand, Richard moved back to the Heights at 1420 Durham four years ago. He purchased a property that had been vacant since 1982 and renovated the property.
The Heights is the perfect location for Nick’s Plumbing because this is where it started and 85% of Richard’s business is in Heights, Montrose, West University, and River Oaks. You may see the new vans with sharp blue graphics driving around the ‘hood. These vans are portable, ergonomically designed workstations including cranes to lift out heavy equipment needed at the job site.
Nick’s employs thirteen who work in two divisions: Renovation and Service. Richard manages Renovation, and Lisa Loera manages Service. Richard’s dad serves as Nick’s purchasing agent. In addition to employing Master Plumbers, Richard became a Master Plumber himself. The state licensing process entails working five years in the field under a licensed plumbing company along with complete documentation, then passing an academic and practical exam in Austin.
Richard has restored many buildings, including his current building and a home in Norhill Heights. He currently lives in Timbergrove. He joined the Houston Heights Association to meet people and as a vehicle to give back to our community whether it be time or money. He attends the business meetings to meet and network with fellow business members. When time allows, he wants to become even more involved.
Richard enjoys spending his time away from Nick’s Plumbing by riding his Harley Fat Boy or hunting. He enjoys meeting friends and eating at Heights-area restaurants in his spare time.
Next time you need a plumber, please consider Heights business member Nick’s Plumbing for your residential and commercial needs. If you’re a business member, remember to check the calendar for the next Houston Heights Association Business Mixer and come and meet Richard and other business members at the meeting. Drop off a business card, and your business may be selected for a spotlight.
Please welcome the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
New Hours For Heights Police Storefront
At the June PIP meeting, it was announced that the Heights Storefront would be open from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM, Monday - Friday, effective July 1. The Heights Storefront is located at 1127 North Shepherd.
The Ana Maria Lopez Storefront, located at 1050 Quitman in the Carnegie Library, will be open 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The Lopez Storefront will be staffed with a Police Service Officer.
New Food Pantry
A new Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry has just opened. It is a collaboration of several Heights area churches. The HIM Food Pantry, located at 3523 Beauchamp, is now open Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. All community organizations are invited to support this effort with donations and volunteers, as this 501(c)(3) organization reaches out to low-income neighbors in zipcodes 77008 and 77009. For information, call 713-447-7624.
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting to be held at 1046 Harvard St. on Thursday, August 20, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.
Have you noticed the prime example of a Dutch Colonial Revival style home at the corner of East 11th Street and Harvard? It is thought to have been built in the year of 1907 (1900-1910). It mimics colonial homes with gambrel roofs built by Dutch immigrants in the 1600s and 1700s in Pennsylvania and beyond. Early 1900s renditions like this one were simple compared to the heavily detailed, richly designed, earlier versions. They’re identified as having cleaner lines with little ornamentation. While their sizes vary, this small model of just over 1800 square feet in two stories is not uncommon.
The Texas Historical Commission Atlas description of the home calls it a T-shaped gambrel frame house with projecting gambrel bays on the sides (cross gable). The projecting side gambrel bay to the south has three adjoining windows. Although not mentioned, there are double hung windows beneath jalousies, likely added in the 1950s, all for allowing cross ventilation to the opposing three double hung windows on the upstairs north wall. The east and west walls upstairs also have opposing double hung windows for good cross ventilation.
The Landmark Designation Report states the front full-width porch is inset with square-paneled posts, flat balusters, and a single front door with transom that leads into the entry hall and parlor. The chamfered bay has three facets, the central one having over 30 lights above one lower single pane.
The house is listed with a brick interior chimney, which has since been removed and replaced with an exterior end chimney and Bickley Rumford fireplace. The rear of the house has a small screened porch with transom above the back door and three casement clerestory windows of many lights giving east light into the formal dining room.
The Texas Historical Commission Atlas listing from 1980 states the owner of Site #41 was one Mattie A. Mulcahy, a family member of the original owner, a bank teller. It is believed a descendent of hers currently resides in Rosenberg, Texas. Antique dealers and refinishers Robert Stallcup and Nick Cimino owned the house until June 2008. They saved it from decline by adding central air, a new roof, and beautiful gardens. Many fondly remember their antique store with the welcoming front porch parrot.
In 2008, the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to Carole Caylor Johnston for the opportunity to preserve this historic structure and return it to period exterior accuracy, enriched in an architecturally appropriate way, preventing its obsolescence and sale for lot value.
Houston Heights was designated as a Multiple Resource Area by the National Register program on June 22, 1983. The Mulcahy House became listed in the National Register of Historical Places on May 14, 1984. It then received its City of Houston Landmark Designation on September 21, 2006.
For those interested in attending and adding what they remember about this building, this meeting will definitely be one to attend. And for meeting attendees who want to see first hand what beauty and character can be gently restored and left intact in a historic Heights propertyfor residential use today, do attend. This meeting has something for long time neighbors in the Heights and everyone.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public quarterly or more frequently to learn about history and restoration in keeping with the appreciation of the historic nature of the Houston Heights. It is not manditory to belong to the Houston Heights Association to attend meetings, but it is encouraged. Please let Committee Chairman, Dean Swanson, know if you have a restoration project, historical structure under restoration, or historical information or photos pertaining to the Heights to share at future meetings. You can contact Dean at or telephone him at 713-880-2832
Calendar of Events for August-September 2009
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open (summer hours). Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site .
Every Monday, 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Houston International Folk Dancers introductory lessons at Oddfellows Hall, 115 E. 14th.
Through August 16, collections for YMCA Operation Backpack continue at Harriet & Joe Foster Family YMCA (1234 W 34th), Garden Oaks Elementary (901 Sue Barnett), 37 other YMCA facilities, and more than 60 area churches. Operation Backpack is an effort to collect school supplies for children who would otherwise start the new school year unprepared. For more information, call 713-869-3378 or visit .
August 8, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. is hosting a free family Back-To-School Community Health Fair at the Independence Heights Neighborhood Center, 205 W. Crosstimbers. For more information, call 713-669-5244 or visit their web site.
August 10-23 is Houston Restaurant Week. More than 75 of Houston's fine dining restaurants will participate in the event, which donates $5 to the Houston Food Bank for each $35 three-course meal purchased. For full details on the event or to make reservations (which are required), click here. For more information about the Houston Food Bank, click here.
October 4, Bicycle Rally
December 4-5, Holiday Home Tour
February 28, 2010, Awards Dinner
April 9-11, Spring Home Tour
April 17, HHA Camp-Out & Music Fest
June 5, Heights Fun Run
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association, Inc. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright 2009, the Houston Heights Association, Inc. 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 ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Diane Easley, Mike Easley, Lauriel Hindman, Peggy Lindow, Paul Luccia, Karen Mann, Irene Nava, Dean Swanson, Diana Van Duzer.