In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Seven, Number One, January 2011|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
Message from the Incoming HHA President
It has been an honor to serve as a Board member for the last three years, and I’m equally honored to serve the Association as President in 2011. It is going to be an exciting year for the Houston Heights Association and our community. We have an experienced, strong, and devoted Board of Directors and Officers, and our talented Committee Chairs are already off and running. The HHA Board has a large number of goals and endeavors that it will continue to focus on in the coming year - all designed to make the Houston Heights an even better neighborhood in which to live, work, and play.
The 2011 Board and I intend to represent the best interests of our members who - like the Board - make up a diverse cross-section of this neighborhood. You put your trust in us with your votes, and we will try our best not to let you down. We may not all always agree on a particular issue, but we will continue to conduct ourselves in a respectful and professional manner - always with the improvement of the neighborhood and the continued success of the Association in mind.
• We will continue to maintain, improve, and beautify the Boulevard, Donovan and Marmion Parks, and the cherished historic Heights Fire Station, which serves as the heartbeat of the Association and neighborhood activities.
• We will also begin a capital campaign for much needed renovations to the Fire Station that was purchased by the Association in late 2009.
• We will deliver four major fundraising events to you in 2011 - all designed to be fun, bring our community closer together, raise our profile city- and state-wide, and raise funds for all the important work that we do.
• We will approach our citizens this year who are not yet members and encourage them to join the Association.
• We will take a strong lead in a campaign to raise capital funds to save and renovate an important historic structure in the heart of the neighborhood - the Immanuel Lutheran Church on Cortlandt.
• We will honor our esteemed volunteers and owners of revered residential and commercial structures at our annual Volunteer Appreciation and Community Improvement Awards ceremony.
• We will hold monthly general meetings and produce interesting and informative programs to cultivate fellowship and lasting relationships among our citizens.
• We will produce and deliver first-class monthly newsletters to our members that inform, entertain, and tantalize.
• We will continue to support our wonderful and unique locally-owned businesses through these difficult economic times.
• We will recruit and mentor new volunteers who will become our leaders of tomorrow.
• We will encourage and enhance area schools with classroom grants and extracurricular events - such as the annual Children’s Art Show at the Fire Station - and we will deliver hundreds of food baskets during the holidays to those who have fallen on hard times.
• We will educate and empower the community concerning our precious urban forestry - our rare wealth of old-growth canopy trees that line our streets.
• We expect our Constable Patrol Program to evolve and grow - protecting our valuables and making our streets safer for our families.
I believe one of the secrets to this neighborhood’s success is the camaraderie we share and the loyal and altruistic nature among our Association members and neighbors. We have been blessed to be served by many fine Presidents over the past years, and I have big shoes to fill (no insinuation to your shoe size, Anne), but at the conclusion of my year as President, my highest hope is that I leave the Association and my beloved neighborhood a little better off than it was before.
Bill Baldwin, 2011 HHA President
2011 HHA Officers, Meetings, Chairs
The 2011 HHA Board held its Organizational Meeting on Monday, December 7. Officers were elected, meeting dates set, and committee chairs appointed as listed below. Andrea Sharp was elected to fill the second year of a Director’s term; the third year will be filled by the membership at the next election.
General Meetings will continue to be held at 7:00 PM on the second Monday of each month at the Fire Station. Board meetings will continue to be held at 6:30 PM on the third Monday of each month at the Fire Station. The annual Orientation Meeting for Officers, Directors, and Chairs will be held on Sunday, January 9.
Community Improvement Award
Please help us select and honor deserving property owners for their hard work and vision in our neighborhood by nominating them for Community Improvement Awards. The winners will be announced at the Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Dinner on February 27 and in the Newsletter.
Nominations must be submitted by Saturday, January 15. A copy of the nomination form and instruction sheet is included in the print edition of this issue. It is also available on the HHA web site .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2011 Platinum sponsors:
Donovan Park Playground Re-Opens
A Christmas Present for All the Kids
On a beautiful December 4th morning, under blue skies, Santa pulled his glistening sleigh up to the gates at Donovan Park. He was just one of the many assembled to celebrate the grand re-opening of the renovated playground.
Fourteen years of constant use had taken their toll on the playground, which was built by community volunteers in 1996. Noting this, the Perry-Saunders family stepped up and offered to help the Heights Association revitalize Donovan Park. Their generosity was extraordinary, and they continue a legacy of service to the Heights community that was started by their ancestor, James Donovan, after whom the park is named. Three generations of the Saunders family took part in the ribbon cutting, along with dozens of neighborhoods children and their parents.
It was a festive day indeed! John Daugherty Realty sponsored “photos with Santa,” Shaggy Dog Rescue brought puppies for adoption, Fundamentally Toys gave goody-bags to the kids, Evin Thayer offered free portraits with donations to the Houston Heights Association, and Mark Ziegler baked the best chocolate chip cookies ever for all to enjoy.
Special thanks to Paul Carr and Clint Horne for overseeing the renovation, and to Mark Ziegler for putting together the festivities. And, of course, to Santa!
Judging from the children’s faces, all were delighted with the improvements to the park. Specifically, the entire playscape was re-built using Trex where possible. This cement-composite material looks like wood but will not rot or splinter like wood - a huge benefit for future maintenance! New baby swings, benches, tables, and lights have been installed. A new water fountain and a bike rack have been added. New mulch has been put down in the play area, and a new surrounding border was constructed. Everything has been re-painted, cleaned, and, in the case of the tile wall, repaired.
If you didn’t realize it before, Donovan Park is not a city park. It is owned and maintained by the Houston Heights Association as a service to the community, but we can’t do it without the support of the community. Please encourage your friends to become members of HHA or to make a donation for the benefit of the park. It’s something we can all be proud of! Merry Christmas!
Sand Box Coming to Donovan Park
Along with all the new features of the rebuilt playground at Donovan Park, there will soon be a sandbox. The sandbox will be in addition to the three new swings, water fountain, and bike rack. The park has new hours. The park is locked from sundown to 8:00 AM. We hope the new hours will cut down on the vandalism.
A Helping Hand
On December 4, the Houston Heights Association celebrated the re-opening of Donovan Park. A special “thank you” goes out once again to Gilbert’s Tree Services, owned by Pedro Mora. Pedro and his wonderful team moved in excess of one hundred yards of playground mulch to put the finishing touches onto this great children’s park facility. Pedro did the work for less than half the amount of money that it would ordinarily cost and delayed service to his regular customers to complete the project in one day.
We are immensely grateful, and his contributions to the Heights community are greatly appreciated. Pedro and his team work diligently throughout the Heights and around Houston providing tree trimming services, mulching, and yard maintenance. If you want to thank Pedro personally, you can reach him at his business line, 832-814-3332.
Historic Districts Under Reconsideration
Houston City Council passed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance on October 13 by a 12-3 vote. At the same meeting, City Council also passed a separate ordinance providing for a transition process from the old ordinance to the new ordinance. The transition ordinance established a 30-day period during which property owners in an existing or pending historic district could request reconsideration of their district. That period ran from October 18 through November 17.
In seven historic districts, including Houston Heights East, West, and South, the owners of 10% or more of the tracts asked for their districts to be reconsidered. The City mailed to all property owners in those districts an announcement of a public meeting (held December 8 for the Houston Heights districts) and forms to be mailed back by December 23 by any owners wanting to repeal their districts. Tabulation of returned forms is expected to take until sometime in January. Ultimately, City Council will use the information on the returned forms to decide whether to affirm, modify, or abolish each district.
Please see the City of Houston Planning and Development Department site for final versions of the amended Historic Preservation Ordinance and the transition ordinance. We expect that further information on the reconsideration process will be posted there as it becomes available.
The Houston Heights Association is remaining neutral on the new ordinance and the reconsideration process.
Households in the “Heights II” recycling area, which lies south of 11th Street between Heights Blvd and Studewood, were added to the City of Houston’s single-stream automated recycling program in December. These households should have received green 96-gallon bins in which they can place glass, paper, plastic containers, aluminum, and cardboard for curbside pickup. With the dozens of new areas added in December, the single-stream recycling program should now serve over 105,000 households, a quarter of the city.
Our integrated Heights Constable Program will start on January 1, 2011. With the Houston Chronicle reporting that there will be cutbacks on our HPD non-emergency calls this year, it is important that we support this program. HPD announced lower crime stats in our neighborhood this year at the Greater Super Neighborhood Council meeting and said they enjoyed working with the constables. We are working on yard signs to distribute to our subscribers this year.
You may subscribe . If you want to volunteer or have any questions regarding the Heights Constable Program, please email .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2010-2011 Silver Sponsor:
Holiday Home Tour Wrap-Up
Well, another year has come and gone and with it another outstanding Holiday Home Tour! This year’s Tour, “Holiday Greetings! From the Houston Heights” was a great success thanks to fabulous weather and a small army of generous volunteers. The Patron Party, which seemed to be effortlessly organized by Marianne Sulser, was a beautifully festive gathering at the elegant home of Bill Baldwin and Joe Gonzalez.
But of course, as every year, this Holiday event could not take place without the generous contributions of close to 200 volunteers, local businesses, gracious homeowners, and the Home Tour committee who tirelessly work to make the Holiday Home Tour a festive and fun holiday destination.
This year’s Holiday Tour Chair, Elizabeth Poirrier, had a great team of volunteers who formed an efficient and well-organized planning committee. Special thanks to Amy Brooks, Susan Diederich, and Honi Knowles for helping to make sure no detail slipped through the cracks.
Of course, there would be no Home Tour and no need for a planning committee without the lovely homes and their generous owners. Words are not sufficient to describe the hours of hard work, detail, imagination, and energy these wonderful homeowners spent getting their homes ready to wow tour goers! And wow they did! All of the homes were stunning in their holiday glory! A heartfelt thanks to our homeowners: Victoria Harrison & Jay Wehnert, Gene & Trinh Kuo, Jeffrey Wade, Ruth Davis, Debbie Drouin, and Dan & Kyna Batterson.
Elizabeth and Bobby Poirrier hosted the first-ever Holiday Home Tour Kick-off Party in their home on July 30. It was a fun and relaxing gathering of committee members, homeowners, head docents, and many others. Once again Angelos and Carol Sofianopoulos were the Shuttle Chairs and, as always, kept those buses running smoothly, rerouting as necessary, and most importantly always keeping the tour goers happy!
The ever-faithful Paul and Mary Carr seemed to appear like Santa’s elves, placing all the signs throughout the community and supplying the homes with tables and chairs for the ticket sellers. Many thanks for their continued dedication and service.
Magnificent Holiday floral designs were provided by: Darlene’s Flowers for 1439 & 1445 Harvard, Behind the Garden Gate for 1432 Tulane, Events in Bloom and Central Market for 1222 Allston, Killion’s Milam Florist for 1629 Cortlandt, and Art Attack and Leyendecker Landscape for 729 Rutland.
Volunteer Chair Eleanor Lane brilliantly kept track of the many new volunteers who answered our call and helped fill in spots when folks had conflicts - she is truly amazing. And of course many, many thanks to all of the Head Docents (Donna Bennett, Kathy Butler, Diane Easley, Kara Salton, Christine Spin, Gilbert Perez, Sandy Steitz, Julie Pettit, Neva Dupuis, and Anne Slone) who kept everything running smoothly as the Tour rolled on!
Graphic Artist Ulrich Diederich generously donated his time, talent, and ideas to create a truly unique and fabulous design for the Home Tour posters, post cards, and ticket brochure. Photography for the ticket brochure was provided by Elizabeth Poirrier. Special thanks to our local businesses for selling home tour tickets before the tour weekend: The Artful Corner, Buchanan’s Native Plants, Waldo’s Coffee House, Bliss on 19th, Heights Antiques on Yale, and Phil’s Texas Barbecue.
To all of our fabulous volunteers, floral sponsors, businesses, Patrons, and of course the many wonderful people who attended the Holiday Tour and viewed our beautiful Heights homes - we hope you enjoyed the tour and will join us again next year! Happy Holidays!!
[Finally, thanks to Elizabeth Poirrier for putting it all together! -Editor]
Stars Spotted in the Heights
The Stars were out on Thursday, December 2, as our Holiday Home Tour Patrons enjoyed a Starlight Preview of the gorgeous Holiday Home Tour homes. The private preview was followed by a brilliant party at a bonus home: the incomparable Baldwin-Gonzalez home at 205 Bayland. Patrons toured the 100+-year-old, fully restored home before partaking in delights by Heights’ area restaurants.
MAJOR THANKS to the incredible food donors for the party, who treated us with culinary delights: ceviche from Glass Wall, roasted pepper soup from Berryhill in the Heights, chicken roll-ups from Pizzitola’s, truly smokin’ duck gumbo with andouille sausage and wild rice pilaf from Rainbow Lodge, mouth-watering Sweet Eats platters from Whole Foods, a delightful variety of Macaroni and Cheese from Jus’ Mac, spicy blackened chicken salad from Tony Mandola’s, gator spring rolls and muffalleta sliders from The Big Mamou, the seasonal delight of Saint Arnold’s Christmas Ale, Spanish tortillas from Ibiza, goat cheese cakes with aioli from Benjy’s on Washington, Tex-Mex delights from El Tiempo, chicken salad from My Fit Foods, and Sweet Ride for the scrumptious take-home sweets and midnight snack! Hungry yet? Each of these restaurants is right in our neighborhood! Next time you head out, tell them we sent you!
Gushing thanks to Benjy’s on Washington for donating 10 gift certificates worth $25 each! If you went to the December General Meeting, you may have been lucky enough to win one!
Special thanks to Jubilee in the Heights and Kristal Kirksey for providing all of the patron gifts. Our gardens will be brightened this spring with the delightful and colorful garden birds! Thanks also to Lauriel Hindman and Kelly Simmons for all the help and guidance, to our committee co-chair, Trudy Nelson, and our hard-working committee: Susan Diederich, Eryn Myers, and Michelle Scheffler. We could not have held the party without the generous homeowners: Bill Baldwin and Joe Gonzalez. Thanks also to the Home Tour homeowners and Head Docents who agreed to open their homes for our Patron preview. Thank you all!
SPECIAL Thanks to our Stars of the evening:
North Stars: Premier Remodeling & Construction, Amy & John Brooks, Anne & Ken Culotta, Diane & Mike Easley, Linda & Simon Eyles, Chris Silkwood & Gary Milnarich, Michelle & Aaron Scheffler, and Kelly Simmons & Keith Crane.
Big Dippers: Allegiance Bank Texas, Pore Pressure Consultants, June & Steve Barth, Rita & Jerred Blanchard, Infinity Title, Patti & Jim Mischler, Trudy Nelson, and Marianne & Tim Sulser.
[Finally, thanks to Marianne and Trudy! -Editor]
Our thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Another Place in Time - Boulevard
Matthew Bedingfield - Donovan Park/Playground, Fire Station Endowment, & Flower Gardens
Amy Blumrosen & Shari Heyen
Rosemary Boros - Flower Gardens
Ruth Davis - Boulevard Beautification
Houston Zen Center
Robert & Cheryl Ketchie - Boulevard Beautification & Fire Station Endowment Fund
Tiffany & James LaFleur - Donovan Park/Playground, Classroom Grants, & Flower Gardens
Joseph & Rebecca Leahy - Flower Gardens & Donovan Park/Playground
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Associaiton.
Amy Blumrosen & Shari Heyen
Dave & Ashlea Cedrone
Steve Colvin & Frances Johnson
Bill & Judy Cummings
Shea Sandefer Hill
Jordan Marye & Emily Gibson
Caroline & Andrew Meade
Aaron & Jessica Petersen
Farrell & Stuart Saunders
Steve & Debbie Scholl
Write Now!, Shanna Barnstone
Holiday Writing Contest a Big Success!
With over 25 wonderful entries from Hamilton Middle School, Reagan High School, and several adults in the Heights area, the HHA Education Committee is delighted to announce our 2010 holiday story winners:
• First place -- Ismael Garza for “The Choir Tour”
• Second place - Jodi Bash for “Annie’s Christmas”
• Third place - Andrea Arroyo for “Her Wish”
The winners were invited to read their stories before Heights residents, family, and friends at Waldo’s on Saturday, December 18. Following the readings, Stephanie Babb from the HHA Education Committee presented the winners with their prizes.
Woman’s Club News
The Houston Heights Woman’s Club is looking forward to the new year and many exciting activities. Election of officers will be held at the January 20 general meeting. The January 29 Cork and Fork will have a Mardi Gras theme. Both activities will be held at the clubhouse at 1846 Harvard beginning at 7:00 PM.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2010-2011 Bronze Sponsors:
Ending the Year on a High Note
HHA Education Committee gives $5,000 to Hamilton Middle School for the purchase of musical instruments.
On November 29, 2010, the Houston Chronicle ran an article entitled “Sound of music costly, HISD middle schools look for ways to pay for required band and orchestra instruments.” A new state mandate has made a fine arts elective a requirement for all middle schoolers. The article discussed the strain that this places on some less-affluent schools because they can’t afford enough musical instruments.
Hamilton Middle School band director Eric Jimenez was quoted in the article. The number of students interested in band at Hamilton far exceeds the instrument inventory. Most of the students cannot afford to purchase their own.
The article came out on the same day that the HHA Education Committee was meeting. The committee looked at their budget and voted to give Hamilton Middle School $5,000 for the purchase of instruments.
I had the privilege of dropping in on Mr. Jimenez’s orchestra class to give him this good news - and it was music to his ears! He was speechless! And extremely grateful to the HHA. It was heartwarming to see the kids working hard to produce beautiful music.
I was also pleased to present a check to Mr. Jimenez at the December General Meeting [right]. The Hamilton Beginning Orchestra provided some holiday entertainment [below], and the spirit of Christmas filled the Fire Station.
“There’s No Place Like Home”
Calendar of Events for January-February 2011
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. See .
Every Monday, 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Houston International Folk Dancers introductory lessons at Oddfellows Hall, 115 E. 14th.
January 3, 7:00 to 9:30 PM, and January 4, 2:00-4:30 PM, Urban Harvest presents information about growing fruit trees in Houston at United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh Drive. For more information, visit .
January 15, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM or until sold out, Urban Harvest holds their annual Fruit Tree Sale at Robertson Football Stadium at Scott Street at Holman Street on the UH campus. For more information, visit .
January 19, 6:00 to 9:00 PM, first Greater Houston Heights Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training session at Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church, 211 Byrne; sessions contnue through March 9. To register or for further information, please contact Marcela Berg at or 713-205-9939 or Dave Kelly at or 713-409-4240. On the web at .
January 23, 2:00 to 4:30 PM, Our Savior Lutheran School holds its annual Open House for parents of potential students at 5000 W. Tidwell Avenue. See for more information.
April 1-3, Spring Home Tour
June 4, Heights Fun Run
October 2, Bicycle Rally
December 2-3, Holiday Home Tour
December 5-7, Holiday Basket Preparation and Delivery
February 26, 2012, Awards Dinner
At The Fire Station
The second Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and the last Monday of the month, 8:00 AM to noon, the City Council District H Satellite Office is open at the east (office) door.
Heavy Trash Notes
January is a “Tree Waste Only” month; February is a “Junk Waste” month. See the for dates in your area and more information.
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright © 2010, 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 ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Bill Baldwin, Paul Carr, Anne Culotta, Angela DeWree, Lauriel Hindman, Lindsey Lee, Trudy Nelson, Elizabeth Poirrier, Chris Silkwood, Kelly Simmons, Marianne Sulser, Dean Swanson, Maureen Weyel.