In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Four, Number Seven, July 2008|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
New 20 Mile Route for Heights Bicycle Rally
This year’s Heights Bicycle Rally, scheduled for Sunday October 5, will travel a new 20 mile route. The new route will take riders on city bike trails through the Heights, Montrose, South Hampton, Morningside, Braeswood, Texas Medical Center, Herman Park, Midtown, Downtown and Norhill. Unlike last year when there were 16 and 24 mile routes, there will only be one route this year.
Mystery sites for the scavenger hunt will be located along the entire route. This year's rally maps will also include food and drink options along the route.
The September General Meeting of the Houston Heights Association will be dedicated to bicycling. There will be presentations on bicycle trails, types of bicycles, bicycle maintenance and the Heights Flyers Bicycle Club. For details on the Bicycle Rally go to or contact Rally Chairman, Paul Carr at 713-869-0505.
Holiday Home Tour 2008
Friday, December 5, 6 - 9 p.m
Docents will be available to point out the rich history, architecture and unique holiday decorations of each home. And, volunteers are welcome (and wanted) for the docent positions (and you get a free ticket for the home tour for being a docent). See article below.
Advance tickets will be available online at www.houstonheights.org and at various Houston Heights locations at a later date. Tickets will also be available on tour days.
It is important to note there will be no tour on Sunday this year. This is in consideration of our gracious homeowners (handpicked by Santa himself) and of the many obligations we all seem to have this time of year. Plan accordingly!
HHA General Meeting
WINE EXPERT, WINE TASTING & APPETIZERS
The July General Meeting will feature a wine expert who will talk about choosing the right wine and the wine-making process itself. Get out of the summer heat and join us at the Houston Heights meeting room at the Fire Station on the corner of 12th and Yale Street. Delectable appetizers and plenty of grappino and refreshments to wash them down will be on hand.
Come and meet your neighbors from this small town in the big city, and see what the Houston Heights Association is up to these days. Everyone is invited to attend — members or future members.
Celebrate “Grand Dames of the Heights”
You are invited to attend a celebration of milestone birthdays of two of our favorite Heights notables and members at a tea in their honor.
Come by to extend your wishes to Melvalene Cohen and Libby Lee between 2 and 5 pm on Sunday July 20 at the Houston Heights Woman’s Club Building, 1846 Harvard Street, Houston, Texas.
Please R.S.V.P. to Anne Sloan at 713-869-8281 or
“Members Only” Park Experiment Generates New Members
Over a dozen new families joined the HHA as a result of the “Members Only” experiment at Donovan Park. On May 24th and 27th, HHA V.P. of properties, Paul Carr sat in front of Donovan Park for four hours, with a “members only” sign and only allowed members of HHA or people that joined the HHA to enter the park.
Articles in both the Leader and Chronicle about the “members only” days have helped inform the public of the HHA’s contribution to the community regarding both Marmion and Donovan. Most of the people using the park thought it belonged to the City of Houston.
Interest has also been generated in rebuilding the playground in Donovan and providing a rest room facility. A box containing membership brochures has been placed next to the entrance at Donovan Park. HHA will spend over $20,000.00 on maintenance and repairs for Donovan Park this year.
Dog Problem in Marmion Park
Irresponsible dog owners are using Marmion Park as a dog pooping station and are not picking up. An HHA volunteer spent over an hour removing dog poop in the park prior to the fun run so that the participants would not have it on their shoes.
Recently two signs that prohibited dog pooping in the park were pulled up and thrown in the dumpster across the street from the park. The signs will be replaced and concreted in.
These dog owners are ruining the park for picnics and weddings. Does any HHA member know of a solution to the problem?
In other park news, HHA has contracted to have the roof on the Kaiser Pavilion in Marmion Park replaced at a cost of $7,100.00.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2008-2009 Platinum sponsors:
2008 HHA Fun Run A Big Success
Hundreds lined up in front of Marmion Park for the race start on Saturday, June 7, for the 23rd Annual Heights Fun Run, which also included a “Walk,” and a “Kids 1K.” The post party, held inside Marmion Park, was abundant with food, refreshments, and fun.
The 5K certified course and race was sanctioned by the USA Track & Field and the Gulf Coast Association USA Track & Field, Ryan’s Race Management managed the race, which featured “race chips” this year-designed to record each runner’s exact time as they crossed the finish line.
Finish Strong Sports allowed us to use their location for early packet pick-up. Additionally, the folks at Finish Strong set up a tent at Memorial Park during the month of May to help publicize our event and register runners, contributing strongly to our great turnout.
Many thanks to HHA’s 2008 Summer Sponsors who made this event possible: Platinum-Allied Waste and San Jacinto Stone; and Bronze-Greenwood King Properties, Heights Funeral Home, and Sterling Bank. The wonderful and unique event logo, brochure, and commemorative t-shirt were designed by C.A. Thorp Studio, Inc. Food and refreshments were generously provided by: Berryhill in the Heights, Clif Bar & Co., The Hot Bagel Shop, Jake’s Fine Foods, Katz Coffee, Silver Eagle Distributors, Tecate’s Mexican Restaurant, Texas Tamale Factory, and Watermill Express. Thanks go out also to the dozens of volunteers who pulled this event together, and especially to Gerald Melancon for chairing the Fun Run. We are greatly appreciative of Constable Jack F. Abercia, Precinct 1, and his dedicated law enforcement officers who volunteered their precious time providing security for the event.
Wonderful door prizes were generously donated by the following area businesses: The Artful Corner, Berryhill in the Heights, Onion/Dry Creek Cafes, Spanish Flowers Restaurant, Newton’s Nursery, Bath Junkie, Aussie Pet Mobile Grooming, Blair House Teakwood Furniture, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Heights Hospital for Animals, Bliss on 19th St.,
On a tragic note, we are sad to report that long-time race director, Howie Ryan, died suddenly the week before the race.
Howie was a retired University of Houston cross-country and distance coach who encouraged hundreds of athletes throughout the Houston running community, died Tuesday of an aortic aneurysm. The Spring resident was 63.
Ryan himself was an outstanding athlete, earning distinction as a Cougar letterwinner from 1965 until 1967. After graduating, he qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in 1972 in the steeplechase, a grueling race that requires both hurdling skill and distance ability.
He retired from UH in 2002 after a 26-year coaching career but remained busy organizing fun runs and operating his sportswear company.
Our thoughts go out to his loving family who-being true to his professionalism and dedication-stepped up and made sure that our very important fundraiser proceeded as planned.
“I think there are an awful lot of runners in Houston who owe a debt of gratitude for the help he gave them,” said attorney Alex Galbraith, president of the Terlingua Track Club, the oldest track club in Houston.
Thanks again to all who volunteered, donated, and attended this year’s Fun Run. Particular thanks to Paul and Mary Carr who always step up to the plate, putting banners on the boulevard and their great logistical work. To Anne Culotta, taking over the microphone and others who brought bands of volunteers. We hope to see you again next year.
Fun Run Results
In addition to the Overall Open and Masters Open winners, thirteen separate age groups received prizes for finishing first, second, and third in the run, for both male and female categories. All Kids 1K participants received an award. We would like to mention the first place 5K race winners in each category below:
Overall Male Sean Wade
Overall Female Diana Hirst
Overall Male Masters Jacob Mazone
Overall Female Masters Sabra Harvey
14 and under Zachary Daum
15-19 Joseph Mazone
20-24 Jeremy Daum
25-29 Mahta Mesfun
30-34 Joe Oniedo
35-39 Brett Riley
40-44 Gerardo Mora
45-49 Sim Cuevas
50-54 Larry Tidwell
55-59 Ted Traynor
60-64 Ben Harvie
65-69 Gary Wood
70+ Ed Wingate
14 and under Faith Banker
15-19 Kaitlyn Bailey
20-24 Jordan Parker
25-29 Jennifer Vaden
30-34 Stacy Holden
35-39 Anne Ekern
40-44 Jackie Connelly
45-49 Heide Mairs
50-54 Suzanne Day
55-59 Sandy Parker
60-64 Elizabeth Ahrens
65-69 (no finishers)
70+ Judy Loy
…and our congratulations to all of the race, walk, and 1K participants.
Full results for all runners who carried timing ships are available here.
Stronger Historic Preservation Protections Considered By Historical Commission
Because demolitions continue to occur at an alarming rate in Houston Heights and in other historic neighborhoods around the city, various amendments to the historic preservation ordinance are under consideration by the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission.
Here’s what has been suggested:
•Extend the waiting period for demolition and relocation of any historic structure from 90 to 180 days.
•Extend the waiting period for incompatible new construction from 90 to 180 days.
•There would be no waiting period for builders who do not demolish historic structures or who build compatible houses on non- historic sites.
In addition, nothing has been proposed that would hinder a homeowner’s ability to conduct routine maintenance on his/her home, meaning there would continue to be no review process or waiting period for replacing rotten siding, getting a new roof or adding a new coat of paint. Historic commission review is required only for major changes to the exterior of a property or for a new addition. There would be no change in the existing 90-day waiting period for major changes to an existing property that do not receive the historic commission’s approval.
There are also new economic incentives being considered for the owners of historic landmarks and contributing and potentially contributing historic structures in City of Houston historic districts.
Houston’s historic preservation ordinance was enacted in 1995. It is the weakest preservation ordinance in the country. This is evident in Houston Heights where the ordinance is failing to protect the historic architecture within the newly established historic districts. More than a dozen houses have been targeted for demolition in the few short months the districts have been in existence. At that rate of demolition, in just five short years, there will not be enough historic inventory left for the neighborhood to qualify as a historic district. Including the two new Houston Heights districts there are a total of 13 historic districts in the City of Houston. The total number of historically significant residential properties in these 13 is about 2150, compared to 800,000 housing sites in the city as a whole.
An organization known as the Heights Builders Association is organizing to oppose the proposed amendments and has distributed flyers throughout the neighborhood. A number of Heights residents who spoke at the June 12, 2008 meeting of the HAHC described the flyers as threatening and deceptive.
Another builders’ group, the Greater Houston Builders Association, which has broader membership and represents builders throughout all of Houston, is considering the amendments and meeting with representatives of the city and the HAHC subcommittee that proposed the changes.
Residents in historic districts have the opportunity to make their opinions on these amendments known by emailing Mayor White and City Council or testifying at one of several public hearings, one of which is expected to be held in late July. Check the city planning Web site at for public hearing dates, or email and ask to be put on the distribution list.
To email the mayor and council members:
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Reagan Opens Track & Field Complex to Heights Community
Six years ago, the planning committee for Reagan High School’s multi-million dollar renovation envisioned a modern-day school and athletic facility that would become the center of the Heights community. With the formal dedication of the “New” Reagan High School last month, school administrators are ready to open the first-class track and field as well as the tennis courts to the Heights Community.
During the summer months, the custodial staff works Monday through Fridays and will open both 14th and 13th Street gates to the track and field from 7 a.m. until dusk, or approximately 8:30 p.m. On holidays, weekends and during staff vacation periods, volunteers from the community will assist the Reagan staff by unlocking the gates twice a day from 7-10 a.m. and again from 5:30-dusk.
Head Athletic Coach Harry Colon reports that the lawn experts tell him that the field’s sod is still not ready to withstand daily use but will probably be ready by early July. “We had an incident with the sprinkler’s electrical system last month but that is being repaired. With the arrival of our new lawn equipment, the athletic staff will be working hard this summer to ensure that the field will be ready in time for the beginning of football training in August.”
Coach Colon asks that the community observe a few rules while using the Reagan facilities. “Please keep all equipment with wheels off of the synthetic track surface including bicycles, skateboards, roller blades and jogging strollers. Also, no pets are allowed or any activities that will cause any damage. We are extremely proud of our new sports complex and look forward to another successful Bulldog football season.”
All final items on the construction “punch list” are scheduled for completion by August 1 in time for the new school year. While not an official School PARK (SPARK), the school staff anticipates that, with everyone’s cooperation, the Reagan athletic facilities will be one of the most popular Heights gathering spots for years to come.
For more information, please contact Coach Colon () or the Reagan HS Athletic Department office, 713-865-4400 during school hours. During non-school hours, residents may contact the HISD Police at 713-892-7777 to report any problems or concerns.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Summer 2008 Bronze Sponsors:
HHA Restoration/Historical Committee
meeting at 611 W. 22nd on July 17,
This month's Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at 611 West 22nd Street on Thursday, July 17th from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. This meeting will be in the old Oriental Textile Mill building at the corner of West 22nd Street and Lawrence. This is the 1894 building easily recognized by locals for its clock tower. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties and has been utilized over the years as a mattress factory, a mill and later as a Venetian blind manufacturing plant. Kraftsmen Baking has now found a new home in the Heights’ Old Oriental Textile Mill building. See last month's issue for more information.
The next Restoration/Historical meeting will be held at 1218 Heights Blvd. on Thursday, September 25th from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. This meeting will be at the recently restored prestigious Heights Blvd. bungalow home and studio of contemporary artist, John Palmer. John’s concept was to renovate the existing bungalow and add another 3,000 square feet rather than tear down and totally rebuild in this historic neighborhood. By keeping the bungalow, his new residence has kept several very artistic elements, including the original wood ceilings and glass French doors. The Height’s community has played a vital role in supporting John’s ever-growing artistic career, thus he strongly felt the Houston Heights should be his home.
Mr. Palmer’s career began 10 years ago. After studying in Florence, Italy at the Santa Reparata International School of Art, his travels and studies took him to Greece, Mexico, Canada, France and Tokyo. He describes his work in more emotional than technical terms. His art, and his path, are free, full of light and alive with energy and movement. Current works are displayed at fine art galleries across the country including New York, Scottsdale, Seattle, New Orleans and Boston. John has upcoming exhibits at Neiman Marcus in the Houston Galleria, London and Paris.
John and his architect, Sam Gianukos with Creole Designs, strongly felt that restoring one of the diminishing number of well built, beautiful Heights bungalows saves the environment by not recycling the tear-down construction materials to a dump site and overall restoration contributes to neighborhood historic preservation. John also used the construction magic of Terri Robinson’s Construction by Design company for make the total project come together.
This meeting will highlight an example of recycling a historic Houston Heights property from days past with discussion of updates for current use. Overall the original exterior beauty and character of this historic property has been kept intact. For those interested in history or how a historic property can be modified, this meeting will be a must. Also, for those wanting to meet some neighbors and have an enjoyable evening, do attend.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public quarterly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with the appreciation of the historic nature of the Houston Heights. 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. Contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him at (713) 880-2832.
Kroger Shoppers Can Donate To HHA Projects
HHA members can have a donation made to Heights Association Boulevard and Parks Projects when they shop at Kroger Super Markets. The next time you shop at Kroger’s, after the clerk scans your Kroger Plus card, have them scan the bar code on the Kroger Customer letter available here. For the next year, every time you shop at Kroger’s and show your Kroger card, the store will make a donation to HHA’s Boulevard and Parks Projects. Also ask your friends and neighbors to use the bar code. There is no additional cost to the member. Just print out and present the barcode to your cashier.
Attention Heights Motorcycle and Scooter Riders
Some Heights motorcyle and scooter riders are determining if there is interest in forming a club of Heights riders. If you are interested, attend the meeting at Berryhill’s at 9:00am on Saturday, July 12th.
Martha Alexander — Flower Gardens
John Cianca — Boulevard Maintenance
William & Deborah Schroeter
Tom & Dana Bellow — Parks
Jane Bryant — Parks, Boulevard, Flower Gardens
Lynn Chapieski & Merrill Hiscock — Boulevard
Kirk & Irma Girouard — Boulevard
Don & Madeline Henderson — Boulevard
Nancy Pittman — Parks
Palmer & Merry Schooley — Parks
Tile Roofs of Texas, Robert Coreale — Education Classroom Grants, Boulevard
Troy Troxell — Parks, Flower Gardens, Boulevard
Learn something new...
By: Paul Luccia (the graffiti guy)
Being a responsible "green" citizen, I called the city and had a new recycle bin delivered to my home. This is new for me after living in the Heights for 6 years. Previously I had produced so little material that I would put the occasional bottle in a neighbors' bin. But a good price on the Chronicle changed my habits. I now fill the bin for each collection., saving the planet and making some money for the city coffers.
When adding a newspaper early one morning I had noticed only the aluminum cans were gone. Perhaps the city has separate trucks for different materials. Naive of me perhaps, but who knew? A few more times I found just the cans were gone. Within a few weeks I happened to be home at just the time when I spotted an ordinary man removing my aluminum cans and putting them in his car. He was quite professional about it; wearing gloves and using large plastic trash bags as not to make a mess of his trunk. Quick to action, I took a video and a few still pictures of the man as he worked his way up and down the block, cleaning out every bin. It was a short stop at the HPD storefront on Shepherd to report the "crime".
This is where the education came along. Later that day I received a phone call from a very polite officer who informed me that taking the cans from my recycle bin is NOT a crime unless he recycles them. My video and pictures were of no value to the District Attorney as only facial ID in a line-up was good enough. A clear picture of his car, license plate, body, clothing and clearly identifiable tattoo wasn't enough for arrest. Plus there was no way for HPD to know if he was recycling the cans or using them for his own purposes.
Remaining green and naive, I started to ask around if there any place in the Heights I can donate my aluminum cans. If anyone knows how I can put them to good use, please let me know at . Until then they are piling up in the garage, in neat plastic bags so as not to make a mess in my trunk.
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
ADD FUN TO YOUR WINTER HOLIDAYS
VOLUNTEER TO BE A DOCENT FOR THE 2008 HISTORIC
Six fabulous Houston Heights homes will be part of this year’s tour. Docents are needed to share homeowner-provided information on the homes’ history, architecture, and unique holiday decorations with the tour guests. People to take tickets and do other tasks are also needed.
Consider being part of the fun and volunteer for a shift during the tour which will be held Friday evening, December 5, 6:00-9:00 p.m., and Saturday, December 6, 3:00-9:00 p.m. A volunteer form is provided here.
For more information or to sign up, contact Eleanor Lane at 832-922-9668 or
Calendar of Events for July-August 2008
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site.
October 5, Bicycle Rally
December 5-7, Holiday Home Tour
February 22, 2009, Awards Dinner
April 3-5, 2009, Spring Home Tour
April 18, 2009. HHA Camp-Out & Music Fest
June 6,2009, Heights Fun Run
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 2008, 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: Gerald Melancon
Editor Emeritus: Mark R. Williamson
July contributors: Paul Carr, Hilary Parr Cobb, Angela DeWree, Janice Evans, Lauriel Hindman, Trudy Nelson, Dean Swanson, Kelly Simmons, Laura Thorp, Mark Williamson, Diana VanDuzer.