In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Nine, Number One, January 2014|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
Happy New Year
It’s hard to believe 2014 is already upon us. I hope your holidays were filled with all of the things that make the Heights a great place to live - family, friends, good tidings, a lot of cheer, and a place to call “Home.” From all of us in the Houston Heights Association, we wish you a happy new year. It is with great pride that I start my term as President.
I have lived in the Heights for over ten years (wow!). Since coming to the Heights in 2002, I have seen a lot of changes. From Historic Preservation, hike and bike trails, deed restrictions, constable patrols, and explosive development, we have seen our share of difficult and controversial issues not to mention a couple of hurricanes and a drought. Despite these issues and others, we have moved forward with teamwork, dedication to our community, and acceptance of one another. In fact, we have succeeded wildly in the past few years.
For many organizations, diversity is a key ingredient of success. As the neighborhood continues to grow and change, we must constantly remind ourselves to accept a variety of viewpoints and provide healthy input for a true collaboration. As a member of the Board these past few years, I realize opinions are easy to come by, but the trick is how you mix them together - that determines the quality of the bake. So, as an organization created to foster and steward the Heights, the Association seeks to “marry” its many flavors while following the mission and core values established by the Association over 40 years ago.
As I read through the words of our past presidents (as presented in our newsletter every January), they all seek to inspire you to join us in service of the Heights and continue what others have started. When you hear their thoughts, a common belief in the Heights is evident, but they also exhibit a distinct perspective as to why and even how. What better example of the varied flavors resulting in a great cake? But don’t take my word for it:
• Dave Steitz, 2013 - “We are truly a town within a city. So when people ask me why I volunteered to serve, I realize it’s because I want this experience to continue and grow even stronger, both for my family, my neighbors, and those who will call the Heights their home in the future.”
• Lindsey Lee, 2012 - “The Houston Heights is a welcoming and warm place greeting everyone with open arms. The diversity in people, opinions, and styles make it even more inviting.”
• Bill Baldwin, 2011 - “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.”
• Anne Culotta, 2010 - “Over the years, the HHA has bought, built, maintained, protected, or promoted much of what we love about the Heights. It strives to preserve the history of the neighborhood while moving forward into the future.”
• Chris Silkwood, 2009 - “I truly believe that quality of life comes about from being in the service of others. I look to each of you to find a way to serve and to understand that all the exciting and great things that occur in our neighborhood are a result of hard work and volunteer participation.”
• Mark Williamson, 2008/2004 - “I am proud to lead the Board this year as we continue to work toward our Vision: To be a diverse, small-town community in the heart of Houston where neighbors and businesses thrive, children learn and play, and history lives. Please help by donating your time, your money, or at least your attention.”
I would like to thank Dave Steitz for his service as President in 2013. Dave did a fantastic job of leading the Association, and it will be hard to duplicate his steady hand and disarming style. The Board appreciates the time and energy Dave has given the Association and the neighborhood this past year. Luckily, Dave will continue to assist us as a member of the Executive Committee in 2014.
In the next issue, I will present the goals of the Board for the coming year. I’m thrilled to be a part of our bright future and grateful for the support of the many volunteers who make the Heights special. The Board and I are looking forward to our term-with your help we can make 2014 another great year. -Matt
2014 HHA Officers
At its December 16 Organizing Meeting, the 2014 HHA Board made the following elections and decisions:
Laura Menefee was appointed to fill the last year of a Directorship that became vacant after the election process had started.
HHA Board Meetings will continue to be on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 PM (except February, which will be at 5:00 PM before the Spring Home Tour Kick-Off Party). General Meetings will continue to be on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM.
Orientation meetings will be held for VPs and committee chairs on January 12 and for Directors during the January 20 Board Meeting.
HHA Monthly Mixer & Meeting at the Fire Station
Meet and greet your neighbors and new faces of your neighborhood at the monthly happy hour mixer and meeting on the second Monday of every month at the Fire Station. Enjoy a different program every month with news you can use, activities, and topics of interest with qualified experts and personalities. It’s fun and free. Everyone is invited.
Doors open at 6:30 PM for the happy hour mix & mingle. Program begins at 7:00 PM.
January 13: Recycle, Refuse, Reuse, Shred
How, what, and where to clear your business & home of excess clutter.
February 10: Share the Love
HHA has something for everyone, and volunteers are always working on projects and programs to help make our neighborhood the great place it is. Visit with your neighbors, tour the Fire Station, and find out more about HHA committees - Home Tours, Constable Patrol, Boulevard Maintenance, Fun Run, Bike Rally, Land Use, Education, Business and more! . Learn more about the great work being done by HHA volunteers and how you can get involved as we “Show the Love” of our neighborhood.
In coming months:
Heights Garden Club
Don’t forget we have our next meeting January 14, 10:00 AM at 741 E. 11th just off Studewood. We will be indoors because of unpredictable weather. This is a beautiful building occupied by Berkshire Hathaway. It’s also an interesting building - a former grocery store, built in the 1930s and renovated about 10 years ago.
Joe Keefe with Bartlett Tree Experts will be our guest speaker. The winter season is the perfect time for trimming and planting, so please join us for this very informative talk. We will also have sign-up sheets for you to receive email for upcoming garden tours and work parties. We will have door prizes and refreshments. Come introduce yourself and learn more about the garden club.
On February 8 at 10:00 AM we will tour the Rose Garden at 20th St. and Heights Blvd. We are lucky to have an expert in rose care, Mr. Conrad Tips, talk to us about rose pruning and propagation.
Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and visit our website at .
Houston Heights Urbanites
New to the Heights? Or perhaps you’ve lived in the neighborhood for a couple of years and still don’t know many people? Then join us for Happy Hour for “Third Thursday with the Urbanites” on January 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Cedar Creek, 1034 West 20th St.
Questions? Write us at .
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2013–2014 Platinum sponsor:
Looking Back: 2013 President’s Letter
Lately, the years seem to fly by with increasing speed. 2013 has been no exception. Just as I begin to get the hang of the President’s job, it’s time to turn over the reins to my successor, Matt Bedingfield.
Despite my slow learning curve, I’m happy to report that in its 41st year, the Houston Heights Association has raised the bar once again. Our Board began the year with some ambitious goals and the results rate an A+.
HHA Membership is at an all-time high, approaching 1600 and still climbing. Thanks to Stacey Courville and her Membership team, more residents than ever came to realize the value of membership. An unexpected membership bonus came with the formation of the youthful Heights Association “Urbanites,” the brainchild of Board member Leann Mueller.
Membership participation was exemplary, from our event volunteers, to our Officers and Directors, to our monthly meeting attendees. A special thanks to Angels DeWree and her team for providing outstanding monthly programs. The wine and snacks didn’t hurt either.
Our community’s crown jewel, the Fire Station, has never looked or functioned better as we completed the third phase of a four-year restoration and renovation project. Rental demand is so strong we could probably rent a second Fire Station if we had one. My thanks to Bill Baldwin for bringing this project in on budget and with the quality we lavish on our own homes.
The Boulevard, along with Marmion Park and Donovan Park, have never looked better thanks to the care and oversight of Paul Carr, Jim Bennett, John Baldwin, and our many volunteers. Bill Pellerin has done a thorough job of representing us to the City and the developers working in our neighborhood. Donna Bennett continues to advocate for safer pedestrian and bike crossings in high traffic areas, and I’m confident she will make progress as our neighborhood density increases. She's nothing if not persistent.
HHA events have all enjoyed success. From our major Holiday and Spring Home Tours, to the Bike Rally and Fun Run, to concerts in the park, attendance was strong and left residents wanting more. Our Event VPs, Kelly Simmons and Chris Silkwood, were invaluable in lending their experience and general oversight. The list of Committee Chairs and volunteers is too long to mention here, but you know who you are, and a big “thank you” for your efforts.
Communications with our Members and the larger community was improved with the launch of our new Website. This effort, lead by our Communications VP, Julie Pettit, was long overdue and I thank Julie for tackling it. Mark and Kathleen Williamson continued to edit and publish one of Houston’s finest neighborhood newsletters and coordinate their efforts with Julie to increase electronic circulation and timely e-blasts.
And with all this activity and capital improvement, our financial condition is stronger than ever thanks to the stewardship of our Board and our President-Elect, Matt Bedingfield. Adding to our financial strength are the largest number of Corporate and Individual Sponsors in our history, sponsors enrolled in large part by Chris Silkwood and Kelly Simmons.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge our Business Manager, Lauriel Hindman, without whose support I never could have navigated the office of President. Always ready to answer questions, offer perspective, or just act as a sounding board, I came to rely on Lauriel both as a colleague and friend. I can’t imagine HHA without her.
So it’s been a good year for HHA. Not by luck or a strong economy, but by the hard work and dedication of you, my neighbors and friends. Thank you all for allowing me to serve you this year and if ever given another chance, I promise to learn faster.
Save the Date: Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Dinner
HHA annually recognizes outstanding volunteers and community improvements during a fun evening at the Fire Station. Bill Baldwin and Andrea Sharp are chairing the dinner portion of the event that will take place on Sunday, Feb. 23. See the separate article in our previous issue about the Community Improvement Awards, which are being chaired by Anne Culotta.
Seating is limited for this surprise-filled event that will once again be catered by Bistro Zelko. Mark your calendar to purchase tickets online beginning Monday, Jan. 20.
Spring Home & Garden Tour: “The Art of Colorful Living”
A hard-working team of co-chairs has already started planning for the 2014 Spring Home & Garden Tour (Saturday and Sunday, April 5 & 6), as well as the Candlelight Dinner and Auction (Friday, April 4). The team includes:
• Home Tour Chair: Sandy Steitz
• Dinner Co-Chairs: Donna Bennett and Stacey Courville
• Silent Auction Chair: Julie Pettit
• Live Auction Co-Chairs: Linda Eyles and Danae Stephenson
The team has selected “The Art of Colorful Living” as the theme for the 2014 Spring Home & Garden Tour. “We’re excited to have famed Houston artist and Heights resident John Pavlicek create the featured artwork for the event,” says Linda Eyles. Danae Stephenson comments, “His vibrant and colorful artwork is the inspiration for all the fun we’re planning.”
Passing of Carol Sofianopoulos
The Houston Heights Association lost another long-time neighbor and volunteer on December 7, 2013. Carol and her husband Angelos worked for years on the old Heights Festival and later ran trolleys and shuttles for the home tours. Good bye, Carol.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2013–2014 Gold Sponsors:
Holiday Home Tour Wrap Up
While the winter temperatures were a bit colder than many would have liked, hundreds of people enjoyed some very warm Heights hospitality during the annual Holiday Home Tour held on December 6 and 7.
Our deepest gratitude goes out to our hard working and creative homeowners, Dennice Wilson, Christie & Tyler Chase, Howard Cox & Alexander Medina, Riaro Gomez, and Brian, Lisa & Ian Cavanaugh and their Head Docents, Nick Eronko, Judy Cummings, Christie Hanaford, Mary Hooper, and Mark & Kathleen Williamson.
Live music was provided by Reagan High Jazz Band, All Saints Catholic Church Choir, St. Pius High Bell Choir and members of the Medical Center Orchestra. Many thanks to Christie Campbell for coordinating and to all of our musicians for sharing their love of music at the Fire Station and homes.
A special thank you to Collateral Designer Doria Rosa Goldman, to Laura Menefee for cheerfully coordinating the Holiday Market (among many other responsibilities), and to Clay Bearden for stepping forward as Shuttle Chair.
And to all of the volunteers who helped as shuttle docents (including students from St. Pius High School) and to those who shared the stories of our homeowners with the visitors, we say a heartfelt thank you. We simply couldn’t do it without you!
And finally, we appreciate the local businesses that sold tour tickets, our popular keepsake ornament, or both! Thank you to Davis Hardware, Buchanan’s Native Plants, Another Place in Time, Jubilee, Bespoke, and C & D Hardware for supporting the fundraising efforts of the HHA.
Rockin’ Holiday Party
We kicked off our Tour weekend with a Rockin’ Holiday Party held at the recently renovated Fire Station on Thursday, December 5. Party Chair Thomas Gribble set the stage for the sold-out ’50s style party complete with a juke box and swing dancing by “The Hepcats.” Our special thanks to Susan Venus for lending her 19th Street Elvis to the festivities!
Many thanks to Paula Hines and Michael Baldwin for stepping forward as Co-Chairs of the Silent Auction. They gathered a lovely selection of beautiful gift baskets and wreaths for partygoers to bid on. And we’re pleased that half of the proceeds will benefit the HHA education committee and their work with local schools! And kudos to our featured artist, Gary Griffin for the awesome photo of the iconic 19th Street theater sign featured on the poster and ornament.
[Thank you, Leann and Gilbert, for putting all these fine homes and folks together to produce another wonderful Holiday Home Tour. -Editor]
Our thanks go the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Paul and Mary Carr - for the new train play structure in Donovan Park for the children of the Heights
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2013–2014 Silver Sponsors:
Education Committee Notes
Holiday Story Contest - Heights Memories and Christmas Whimsy
The winners of the 2013 HHA Education Committee holiday story contest shared stories filled with Heights Christmas memories and clever tales of Christmas trees and elves. First-place was awarded to Heights resident Ismael Garza for his story, “A Christmas Eve Birthday Party,” while second-place went to Cassidy Welch of Reagan High School for “Piney the Christmas Tree” and Jackson A. Lloyd from Travis Elementary School won third-place for her story, “The Elf that Stole Christmas.” To enjoy these stories with family and friends, please click on the story titles.
Friends of Field Share Exciting New Program
In an effort to give students at Field Elementary additional educational opportunities centered on discipline, skills acquired through focused practice, and working with others via team activities, a new program, Club Accelerate, has been established for third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. The program will run every other Friday from noon to 3:00 PM, during which both boys and girls will learn how to play basketball, soccer, and football.
Overseeing Club Accelerate is Dimitri Carter, a former Mexican basketball Olympian, San Antonio Spurs player, and shooting coach and personnel executive for the Seattle Sonics. He will also be the coach for basketball. Dayron Rodriguez will train students in soccer, having played with Chivas de Guadalajara academy in Houston. Coaching football will be Dom Anderson, who played football in high school and in college. All of the coaches are excellent role models and leaders in their communities, and are currently employed at The Houstonian.
If you would like to help support Club Accelerate or the wish lists that have been created by Field’s teachers, please visit the Donors Choose website , which was created Friends of Field.
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2013–2014 Bronze Sponsors:
November 20, 2013
Two masked robbery suspects were arrested following a chase and foot pursuit in the middle of the morning rush hour commute Wednesday. The robbery was reported at the Chase Bank in the 8300 block of Westheimer Road near Dunvale Road, according to a spokeswoman. An off-duty police officer with the Houston Independent School District reportedly followed the suspects as they left the scene in a light colored Oldsmobile sedan just before 7:00 AM. The suspects led police to the West Loop and then to the North Loop where they bailed out of their vehicle at North Main.
Aerial views from Air 11 showed deputies with Harris County Constable Pct. 1 arresting one of the suspects just moments later. A second suspect ran under an overpass and was arrested following a foot pursuit by Harris County Constable Pct. 1 to the other side of the freeway, where he was apprehended.
Police set up a search perimeter, as there were unconfirmed reports that a third suspect may have bailed from the vehicle as well.
November 21, 2013
Heights Deputies were on patrol when they ran across three juveniles looking suspicious. Deputies stopped the subjects, and one was found to have a firearm on him. Shortly thereafter, an alarm dropped at 605 Omar Street. Deputies were right around the corner with these juveniles. Upon further investigation, the homeowner identified the firearm, and subjects were arrested for the Burglary.
December 3, 2013
At approximately 9:00 AM, deputies from the Precinct One Constable’s Office were called to an area around the 400 block of Cortland Street in regards to a couple of vehicles that had been broken into. The homeowners were able to give a description of the possible suspect to dispatch officers. Precinct One Constable Deputies immediately hit the area looking for the suspect.
Deputies were able to locate the suspect around the 400 block of Oxford with the stolen property still in possession from vehicles that had just been burglarized a couple of blocks away. The deputies brought the items back to the vehicle owners who positively identified the items. The suspect was arrested for two counts of Burglary of a Motor Vehicle.
Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen discussing neighborhood security and the Constable Patrol Program at the October HHA General Meeting.
Community Improvement nominations are due January 10!
Reminder: It’s Rewarding
Kroger is making it easy for local non-profits, such as HHA, to receive cash through Kroger Community Rewards. Here’s how.
HHA has been assigned Kroger Community Rewards identification number 81249. HHA members can enroll their Kroger Plus Cards online at [A longer version of these instructions is available in the online editions of our August 2013 issue, click .]. (If you don’t have a Plus Card, get one at a Kroger service desk.) If you are new to the Kroger online programs, you’ll need to sign up for an account, otherwise sign in to your Kroger account, click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information, and enter our “NPO number” 81249.
Then every time an enrolled participant from HHA shops at Kroger using a Kroger Plus Card, HHA will begin accumulating. Once you have enrolled, your spending begins earning rewards for HHA.
The amount HHA earns will depend on how much our participants spend compared to other organizations. Organizations that are supported by Kroger Plus Card shoppers will earn a percentage of the $1.5 million donated annually.
If you’re a Kroger shopper, we encourage you to sign up and increase HHA’s earning potential.
Calendar of Events for January–February 2014
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Saturday, 8:00 AM, Heights Running Club meets on the Heights Boulevard jogging trail at 7th Street. Contact to be added to the weekly distribution list.
January 11, 18, and 25, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Heights-Norhill Little League holds early registration at Stude Park, 1000 Usener. Regular registration on February 1 and 8. For more information, call Veronica at 713-408-0672 or Maty at 832-370-8296.
January 21, 7:00-8:30 PM, Houston Storytellers Guild meets at St. Andrew’s House, 1811 Heights Boulevard. Meet Kay Tobola and Judy Allton, members of the storytelling project that created the 50-year story of NASA as well as the stories of its scientists. For more information, www.houstonstorytellers.org or 713-643-8478.
January 31-February 9, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard. For more information, visit www.operaintheheights.org.
Heavy Trash Notes
January is a “Tree Waste Only” month; February is a “Junk Waste” month. The heavy trash pickup date is the third Wednesday for most of the Houston Heights Association coverage area.
For dates in your immediate area, visit the City Solid Waste site.
April 4-6, Spring Home Tour
June 7, Heights Fun Run [tentative date]
October 6, Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt [tentative date]
December 5-6, Holiday Home Tour [tentative dates]
December 9-10, Holiday Food Baskets [tentative dates]
February 22, 2015, Awards Dinner [tentative date]
At The Properties
Heights Tai Chi Association meets Saturdays at 9:00 AM and Wednesdays at 7:00 PM in Marmion Park, Heights at 18th.
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 © 2014, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, 107 W. 12th Street, Houston, TX 77008-6907;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
VP Communications: Julie Pettit
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Sarah Bates, Anne Culotta, Matt Bedingfield, Angela DeWree, Stacey Courville, Lauriel Hindman, Dee Melancon, Leann Mueller, Julie Pettit, Dave Steitz, Lanna von Baden, Maureen Weyel.