In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Two, Number Ten, October 2006|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
Heights Bike & Skate Rally and Scavenger Hunt
The Houston Heights Association is sponsoring a new fun event this fall. Get out the bike, skates, or skateboard and get ready to enjoy the first Heights Bike & Skate Rally and Scavenger Hunt on Sunday, October 15. The Rally will start and end at the Fire Station on 12th and Yale Streets. This is not a race! This self-paced event will start at 8:00 AM, when participants will receive a packet containing a rally card, map, and scavenger hunt clue list. Clues will describe a site or object located along the rally course with space to note its location.
The rally route is a 15-mile course on City of Houston bike trails going through several inner-loop neighborhoods. There will be three checkpoints/rest stops where the rally card will be validated by a rally volunteer. In order to be eligible for prizes, the rally card must have been validated at all three checkpoints. Both completed clue list and rally card must be turned in by 5:00 PM. The rally will end with a party. Plan to celebrate with food, soft drinks, and music while awards are announced and door prizes given!
Children under 12 years of age must wear required safety gear. Riders and skaters must obey all traffic laws.
Entry fee schedule: $10 on or before October 12; $15 beginning October 13.
Awards will be given in three age categories (Adult, Youth & Children) in two categories: best decorated bike and best costume. It is almost Halloween, so use your imagination and have fun! Awards will be given to the youngest and oldest participants to finish the course. The award in the Scavenger Hunt goes to the participant who finds the most mystery objects along the course. Prize drawings will be held during the party!
To register online, visitor send checks payable to Houston Heights Association along with an entry form to:
Heights Bike & Skate Rally
Credit cards are accepted through the web site. No refunds will be made.
Packet pick-up for pre-registered participants is at the Fire Station on the day of the event. Registrations will also be accepted at this time.
Special thanks to the following contributors:
For more information, call 713-861-4002 option 6 or check the web site ().
General Meeting: Haunted Heights
On Monday, October 9, at 7:00 PM, experience The Historic Haunted Heights! This program was a lot of fun last year, and we have a new lineup of ghoulish delights for you this year.
Learn about the Heights Present & Past from Sharon Hattenbach (proprietor of Heights Station Antiques located in the Mysterious Barn at the Railroad Tracks on Heights Blvd.) and hear about her intriguing historic home at 1015 Harvard, the original residence of the nuns of All Saints Church.
Experience Fiendish Dr. Phil Nichols and some Monsters and Creatures from his collection, created for movies and film.
Delight in HITS Children’s Theatre. Executive Director Noah Edmundson will present the Kids from HITS in a Production Number especially created for the Heights!
Special Appearance by Art Cars. Campaign speeches by candidates for the Board.
Enjoy complimentary Treats from Target and Goodies from Kroger, our sponsors for the evening.
Tricks & Treats galore! Everyone is invited!
HHA Bike Rally Needs Prizes
It’s only a few days ’til the first HHA Bike & Skate Rally. The rally committee needs prizes. They can be products, services, or gift certificates. Any contributions will be appreciated and will help the event attract participants for next year.
Aside from prizes, the most important commodity needed by the committee is volunteers. In particular, help is needed with advance brochure distribution, set-up, registration, and the after-party. Members planning to volunteer should contact one of the following rally sub-chairs and provide a name, telephone number, and T-shirt size.
David Cassidy, Check Points, 713-868-1124 or
Genie Mims, Judging & Publicity, 832-466-6674 or
Martin Pike. Scavenger Hunt, 713-869-5242 or
Paul Carr, Set Up, 713-869-0505 or
All volunteers need to be scheduled before the day of the event.
The committee is especially appreciative of Donald Tomek’s donation of bottled water to be given out at the check points to participants.
The statements below from the six candidates in the race for Director terms starting in 2007 are reproduced as submitted and without editing. A seventh candidate was nominated at the September General Meeting but subsequently withdrew her name from consideration.
Chris Synek: I am a long-time Heights resident, husband and father of two. As a senior officer of a Fortune 500 company I bring expertise in financial, developmental, strategic and political matters. I will utilize these skills to increase safety, improve resident involvement and promote a greater sense of community.
Donald Tomek: As a 52 year resident, I have restored, and built numerous Heights bungalows. Having been involved in several HHA committees, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve on the board and assist with the implementation of future projects for The Houston Heights Association!
Janice Evans-Davis: Serving as Land Use Chair, co-chairing the east side historic effort and working with neighbors on lot size/setback protections is rewarding. Please let me continue giving back to the neighborhood by remaining an HHA board member. Professionally, I am Communications/Governmental Relations Director for City Controller Annise Parker.
Kathy Russell: I am delighted at the opportunity to represent Heights residents as a board member. My role as Chair of 2006 Spring Home Tour was enlightening. I would be honored at another opportunity to work on behalf of the Heights. 12 years as Heights homeowner, 5 years as Heights business owner.
Mark Williamson: During my 15 years in Houston Heights, I’ve served the Association as President, Newsletter Editor, Director, Recording Secretary, Parliamentarian, and general volunteer. I would appreciate the chance to return to the Board as it faces the challenges of keeping our “small town in the big city” vital, neighborly, and historical.
Sharie Beale: I live (7 yrs) and work in the Heights (Realtor - Historic Properties /Greenwood King) - my volunteer efforts with HHA include, docents, party chairs (Fun Run, Wreath Auction), 2006 Co-Chair Historic District Task Force, and 2006 Chair of Holiday Home Tour. I’m a City Commissioner: Houston Archaeological & Historical Commission
Director Election Schedule
Six of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election this fall. Five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms. The sixth position is for the last two years of a term vacated by resignation. The five nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes will fill the three-year terms; the nominee receiving the sixth-highest vote count will fill the two-year vacancy.
The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2007 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:
• October 9, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications at the General Meeting for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions
• By 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 11 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.
• November 13, 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 Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following 2006 Platinum sponsors:
50 New Members And Counting!
In what turned out to be a real highlight showcasing the best of our Houston Heights, “Meet Your Neighbor Night” turned out to be a special evening. So special in fact, that we have already gained over 50 new members, and more applications arrive in the mail each day. [See list at right.]
This year’s “Meet Your Neighbor Night” was an attempt to reach out to new neighbors who have moved to the Heights over the last three years. Over 800 new households have arrived to our neighborhood in that time. That’s a huge chunk of the neighborhood!
40 hard working volunteers prepared welcome packets and distributed them to 800 homes, WHEW! We had a great turnout, and everyone is so encouraged by the enthusiasm of these new neighbors as they socialized and learned of each committee, whether it was historical preservation, security, education, holiday home tour, land use, bike rally, and more.
Memberships are so vital to our future success. Thank you to every member, new and old. Special thanks go to Pappas Restaurants for providing food as well as Tim Womble of Karen Derr Realty for organizing the list. It was a pleasure to meet you all!
Please welcome the following new or returning HHA members.
Holiday Home Tour:
Merchants, Artists, and Crafters
Sign up now for the Christmas Market! Don’t be left out of this fun event which will take place the same time as the Holiday Home Tour. We are offering 8’x10’ booths at the Heights Fire Station. Contact for more information and prices. This is a fundraiser for the Heights and Christmas sales for you!
Attention Artists And Crafters
Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments for the Taking:
Our HHA Holiday Market booth needs donation. We have clear glass ornaments in various shapes for decorating. As mentioned in the article above, these ornaments will be sold at the HHA booth at the Market.
Please e-mailand sign up - we deliver!
Thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
August Board Meeting Summary
President Robin Franklin called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM. The minutes of the July meeting and the financial report were reviewed and approved.
David Beale reported on meetings held by the Historic Districts Task Force Committee. More information will be delivered to property owners, and Historic Happy Hours will be held to talk about the formation of the Historic Districts. David sent letters to builders constructing homes in the Heights to voice HHA’s concern about the removal of older, historic homes. He has received phone calls as a result and plans to follow-up with builders he has not heard from. Richard Hinds talked about a program that could be offered to builders to renovate older homes rather then remove or tear them down. Richard will have more information for the Land Use Committee Meeting and the next Board Meeting. Jonathan Smulian and Angela DeWree suggested that the newsletter contain before and after pictures of houses that have been renovated. David Beale prepared a draft resolution that he would like to present to City Council. Meetings with members of City Council will be arranged to ask for their comments.
The Holiday Home Tour is discussed. Underwriters are needed for the musicians performing at the Home Tour homes. The September 11th General Meeting will be a social get together and membership drive. Membership packets will be delivered prior to the meeting. The only business conducted at the meeting will be the call for nominations to the HHA Board of Directors.
Angela DeWree would like the board to consider printing seasonal newsletters that could be distributed certain times of the year and available during HHA sponsored events. These newsletters would provide a calendar of what HHA has going on in the future as well as share with the neighborhood what HHA sponsors and will need volunteers for.
Jim Potter wants the Board to think about ways to alleviate the Business Manager’s duties by chairing and taking on more responsibilities for HHA sponsored activities. If that is not feasible, it may become necessary to hire an additional person to assist the Business Manager. The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.
Happy Future For 946 Arlington
The historical bungalow at 946 Arlington, threatened with demolition this summer, now has a happy future.
Heights resident and past HHA Board President Byron Pettit and his wife Julie closed on the purchase of the 946 Arlington home on Wednesday, September 6. The Pettits intend to restore the bungalow and build an historically compatible addition to the rear of the house, then resell it.
946 Arlington was saved from scheduled demolition when representatives of the HHA Board of Directors met at the property on July 19 with the owner, Lambert Arceneaux of Allegro Builders. Mr. Arceneaux at that time agreed to sell the home instead of demolishing it. Mr. Arceneaux is a resident of Houston Heights and shares our goal to preserve the historic character of the Heights; he is to be commended for his action.
The number of historic Heights houses lost to demolition or relocation increases with each passing month. From August 15 through September 12, 12 houses fell victim to the bulldozer or were moved out of the Heights. This brings to 161 the total number of properties lost since our Demo Watch began. The Heights loses on average 2.4 houses a week to demolition or relocation. At that rate, 45 entire blocks will be gone by 2016, and the historic character of the Heights will be lost.
Establishing historic districts is the only legal deterrent to this increasing problem, but we must act quickly if there are to be any historic properties left to save. If you have not yet signed and returned the historic district petition, please do so. The petition is available. Just click on the Historic District Application link.
The following is a list of properties lost in the last month. Because the teardown problem affects the entire neighborhood, this list includes properties within and outside the boundaries of the two proposed historic districts.
Ghost Tales Under The Stars
Join storytellers from the Houston Storytellers Guild for a free evening of chilling tales beginning at 7:30 PM on Saturday, October 28, at Marmion Park (Heights Boulevard @ 18th Street).
Bring your blanket, lawn chairs, and snacks and settle in for an evening of ghost stories told by some of Houston’s best storytellers. For twenty years, tellers from the Houston Storytellers Guild have shared spooky stories on the Saturday before Halloween, ranging from the slightly spooky to the truly chilling. This year’s concert begins at 7:30 and will finish about 9:00 PM. Anyone who enjoys a good scare is invited. Bring a flashlight for your walk home!
This annual event is free and will take place rain or shine. Thanks to the Houston Heights Association for cosponsoring this event.
For more information, check the Guild’s website ator call us at 713-643-8478.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Fall 2006 Bronze Sponsors:
White Oak Drive Clean Up
The Heights Exchange Club and members from MC3 met to shovel the muck and pick up litter from some of the worst curb gutters on White Oak Drive and weed-eat some of the city right-of-way in August.
The Heights Exchange Club had previously adopted White Oak as their official community beatification program with the focus of keeping White Oak clear of litter. Now, plans are under way to meet with a representative of the City Parks Department to determine the type of plantings amenable to the city right-of-way and beautify White Oak. Businesses on White Oak will be asked to help in this beautification project by keeping the young plants watered until they can become established. The City Parks Department will donate the plants.
The Heights Exchange Club is a group of men and women working together to make the community a better place through programs of service in Community Service, Americanism, Youth Activities, and the National Exchange Club project, Child Abuse Prevention. Their activities through the year include outfitting Heights area elementary students with coats during the winter, placement of flags along Heights Blvd on Memorial and Labor Day, keeping White Oak Drive clear of litter, educating the public about the dangers of shaking babies, and volunteering at the Houston Food Bank. For more information, see.
Mid-City Community Church (MC3) is a growing house-based Christian church in The Heights, which serves all communities in the Mid-City area. MC3’s primary focus is to humbly serve neighbors and communities, as well as foster authenticity in a caring fellowship that strives to grow in the Christian faith. On the third Sunday of each month, before heavy trash pickup, they hit the streets with mowers, weed-eaters, and rakes (and even the occasional chain-saw) providing yard service to any neighbors in special need of assistance. For more information, see.
Rose Garden News
If you haven’t spruced up your roses with a slight hair cut, this is a good time to think about it for some beautiful fall blooms. Cotton burr and chicken compost will be added to all the beds during the fall months.
It appears that we will need to replace some of the azaleas that became water logged when we had the irrigation problem. Perhaps we will replace them with some Encore azaleas so that we will have blooms off and on during the year. Several of our old roses did not make it through the heat and dry spells but will be replaced with the same variety as we get them identified. Jim Bennett, Blvd. Chair, will be assessing the irrigation system this fall to include water for three of the rose beds.
While cleaning the center bed, I found that another rose bush has been taken. As a last resort, we may have to plant them with a chain and cement the chain six feet under!!!
A great big welcome to volunteer Nikhi Nored. Nikhi is a brand spanking new gardener and is my right hand helper in keeping the rose garden in shape. Welcome aboard to helping to keep our Boulevard beautiful.
Update on the West 11th Street Park
I would like to clarify some information about the 11th Street Park that is circulating and bring everyone up to speed about what is going on:
A year ago, as I reported at a Timbergrove Manor Civic Club general meeting, the City of Houston and HISD signed a purchase option in which HISD agreed that they would be willing to sell the West 11th Street park property to the city for $9.2 million, and that the city would have a year to raise the money. This did not mean that the property was already secured; it was an option, not a final sale. The option expires on December 31, 2006.
HISD, especially local representative Harvin Moore, has made extraordinary efforts to help us. HISD gave us a very good price on the property, has been very forthcoming in negotiations, has helped with publicity and awareness, and is assisting now in making sure that this deal happens.
The Houston Parks Board, a nonprofit whose members are selected by City Council and whose sole mission is to raise money for park acquisition, was charged with finding the money for the purchase. As I reported last year, the Mayor offered to match private funds up to a total of $4 million, leaving $5.2 million to be raised.
Unfortunately, last year turned out to be the worst possible year to raise money, with many, many competing causes (the downtown park, the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), and not all the money has been raised. The Houston Parks Board is continuing its efforts, and additional efforts have been launched here in the neighborhood to tap into sources that may be fruitful.
Because the Mayor is keenly interested in securing this park (as evidenced by his offer to match funds), he is working with the Parks Board on a contingency plan that will serve as a safety net to save the park on the chance that all the money cannot be raised by December 31 , 2006. This contingency plan involves securing a bridge loan using a small piece of the property as collateral to make up whatever difference remains at the end of the year so that HISD can be paid off in full. The bridge loan will buy us some additional time next year to determine whether public or private donations can be put in place or, worst case, arrange the sale of a piece of the property. If the latter becomes necessary, the plan is to deed-restrict the property to development that is LEED certified (“green” building) and park-edge appropriate. The Parks Board would have responsibility for reviewing responses to an RFP to ensure that this happens.
Overall, there has been tremendous support from everyone involved (Mayor, City Council, Harvin Moore, HPB) in making sure that the park is secured, even if it may take some jumping through hoops to nail down the final details. Clearly, the best case scenario is to raise the additional money to pay off the park without need of the bridge loan. But I, for one, will sleep better knowing that there is a contingency plan in place so that we are not putting the entire park on the line, betting on the success of our fundraising during the close of the year.
(Friends of the West 11th Street Park is a grass roots organization that has worked for over 8 years to preserve the park. We are a 501(c)(3) corporation, consisting of people who love the park and who have spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars of their own money over the years working to make this beautiful wooded area a permanent park.)
Meet Your Next Pet On The Boulevard
The next Meet and Greet Pet Event in the Heights will be held Saturday, October 7 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. It is hosted every first Saturday at the Cooper Animal Clinic at 1136 Heights Blvd. Beautiful and healthy homeless dogs and cats pulled from death row at area shelters will greet you with wagging tails and soft purrs. At this special monthly event, families will find booths with story time for the kids, a pet photographer, an animal communicator, a professional dog trainer, gifts and products for pets, and great raffle baskets. In addition, a veterinarian will offer low-cost microchipping, a tool to help ensure your pets can always find their way home!
Donations of quality pet food (greatly appreciated), bowls, toys, towels, blankets, litter, and other supplies are always welcome and needed! Proceeds and donated items will directly benefit the animals at BARC, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control, Houston’s city shelter, through the non-profit organization Friends of BARC. The shelter is extremely underfunded, and the animals there need your support! This is a worthwhile cause to help Houston become an animal-friendly community and give friendly, loveable animals a second chance at life.
The September Meet and Greet saw several animals find new forever homes. One special match included Tommy, a deaf Border Collie puppy fostered by Go Vegan Texas! radio host Janice Blue. He was adopted by a family in the Heights, Joi and Topper Moore and their teen-age daughter Emily, who named him Tommy after The Who’s rock opera. Little Tommy is now happily settling in with his new siblings of two dogs, Sadie and Buddy, and cat mates Law and Order. Cricket, owner of Cricket’s Café and Creamery on W. 19th, fell in love with a little terrier rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and named him Red since he is a redhead like herself.
Bring your family (including your friendly pets) and join the fun! In the meantime, please spay and neuter your pets, and remember, when you adopt from shelters, you save a life! For more information visitor call 713-861-1155.
Film To Benefit Suicide Prevention
In conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week, the independent film jumping off bridges will screen in over 20 cities across the country. Storie Productions has partnered with local and national suicide prevention organizations, mental health awareness groups, and other organizations to use jumping off bridges in an outreach effort. The film will screen on October 14 at 7:00 PM at the Rice University Media Center. Tickets are $6 general admission. The screening will be co-sponsored by the Houston Suicide Prevention Coalition. A portion of the box office sales benefits the Coalition.
Inspired by invincible friendships, junior high journal entries, heart breaking crushes, and the complexities of losing loved ones, jumping off bridges (PG-13) follows a carefree, adventurous group of four best friends deep in the trenches of adolescence. Since its festival premiere at the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival, jumping off bridges has enjoyed sold out screenings and rave reviews. Lauded by the Austin Chronicle as “a realistic narrative portrait of love, death, and human debris as anything you’re ever likely to see onscreen.”
“More people die of suicide in Houston than of breast cancer and AIDS,” said Dr. John Burruss, assistant professor of psychiatry at Baylor School of Medicine in a 2004 press release. “The majority of people who kill themselves have mental illness.” Burruss says mental illness should be treated as other serious health conditions. Just as diabetics will not survive without insulin injections, untreated mental illness greatly results in death by suicide, he says.
A Q&A panel of experts will follow the screening to discuss suicide and mental health issues, statistics, warning signs and preventative measures.
Calendar of Events for October-November 2006
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Events planned by other community organizations.
Every Wednesday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site for more information.
Saturday, October 7, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Meet and Greet Pet Event at 1136 Heights Blvd. by Friends of BARC. See article above. For more information, call 713-861-1155 or visit .
Saturday, October 7 and 21, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site for more information.
Saturday, October 14, 7:00 PM, a special showing of the independent film jumping off bridges at the Rice Media Center. A portion of the box office sales benefits the Houston Suicide Prevention Coalition. See article above.
Saturday, November 4 and 18, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site for more information.
November 9-11 and 16-18, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information or tickets, visit or call 713-861-5303.
Thursday, November 16, 9th Annual John Granato Celebrity Golf Classic benefitting United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Houston. Tee-off Dinner and Auction the evening before. For more information, call 713-838-9050.
December 11-13, Holiday Food Baskets
February 25, Awards Dinner
April 13-15, Spring Home Tour
June 3, Fun Run
October 21, Bicycle/Skate Rally
November 30 - December 1, Holiday Home Tour
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 2006, 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
David Beale, Sharie Beale, Janet Buchheit, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Janice Evans-Davis, Lauriel Hindman, Genie Mims, Taylor Moore, Cynthia Corn Parker.