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In This Issue

General Meeting: Mayor Parker to Address HHA, August 8

2010 Bike Rally and Scavenger Hunt, October 2

Fall General Meetings

Director Election Schedule

2011 HHA Directors and Officers

Restoration/ Historical Committee, August 18, 3510 White Oak

Urban Forestry: Request a variance when replacing sidewalks to protect street trees

We Had Summer Fun in Marmion Park

Back to School Fun Day in Donovan Park, August 20

Road Work Notes: Yale, Shepherd-Durham, 290/610

Service Opportunity: Can you host an international exchange student?

Doctors Warn of Heat Damgers for High-Risk People

New Members



Staff and Contributors


logo for The Heights
Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association
Volume Thirty-Seven, Number Eight, August 2011
Click here for the print-format PDF version.
Click here for back issues.
Click here to return to main HHA site.

2011 Bike Rally and Scavenger Hunt

It’s time to get those wheels in motion for the 2011 Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt. The rally will start and end at Marmion Park on Sunday, October 2.

Each rider is given a map and a Clue List. Mystery objects or sites are scattered along the course, and the challenge for the bicyclist-detectives is to locate as many as possible. Prizes are awarded to the rider who successfully finds the most scavenger hunt items.

This year we will have two routes:

Basic Route - Open to riders of all ages, the basic route is a 20-mile casual ride in the Heights and surrounding areas. Riders can start any time after 8:00 AM but must finish by 4:00 PM.

Kids’ Ride - New this year, the Kids’ Ride will be a comfortable 5-mile ride generally along Heights bike trails. Designed for kids 11 and under, riders should bring their parents along for a healthy, fun, family event. The Kids’ Ride will start at 2:00 PM.

At the end of the rally, join us for a Post-Ride party starting at 4:00 PM with the awards ceremony at 4:30 PM. Plan to celebrate with entertainment, refreshments, and fabulous door prizes, and the announcement of our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the scavenger hunts!

Not a bicyclist? Looking for an exciting way to support the Houston Heights Association? Volunteer to help with the Bike Rally! If you would like to be a part of it, please e-mail, or call 713-861-4002 and leave a message on extension 6. We’d love to have you!

Director Election Schedule

Eight of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election over the next few months. Five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms. One position is for the remaining two years of a term ended by resignation. Two positions are for the remaining last year of terms ended by resignations.

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; and the nominees receiving the seventh and eighth highest vote counts will fill the one-year vacancies. See the right column on this page for a list of current Directors.

[The HHA Board of Directors will be considering minor changes to the election policy at its August meeting. Watch for an update in our next issue.]

Time Is Of The Essence

The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2012 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:

• September 12 at the General Meeting, the floor will be opened for nominations to the Board of Directors. Nominators and nominees must be current members of the Association. Nominators may speak for two minutes, seconders for one. Please be sure before you nominate someone that your nominee will commit to serve.

• By September 14, the Election Committee will distribute to nominees election packets containing bylaws, policies, articles of incorporation, committee responsibility list, detailed election schedule, and a statement confirming that the nominee has read the bylaws and policies and agrees to serve in accordance with them if elected.

• By September 17, signed statements from nominees are due, as well as a 50-word statement from each nominee for publication in the October newsletter. Statements longer than 50 words will be truncated after 50 words when published.

• October 10 at the General Meeting, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions.

• On or before the Friday following the General Meeting (October 14), the Election Committee will mail a ballot with a control number to each member whose dues are current as of October 1.

• By November 12 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.

• November 14 before the General Meeting, polls will be open for secret balloting in person from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM sharp. The Election Committee will tabulate ballots and announce the results during the meeting. The results will also be published in the December newsletter.

General Meeting

Mayor Parker to Address HHA

We are excited to have the Honorable Annise Parker, Mayor of the City of Houston, as our featured speaker for the General Meeting on August 8, 2011.

The meeting will start at 7:00 PM promptly, and the Mayor will arrive by 7:15 PM. She will make some prepared remarks and then allow time for questions and answers. Due to time constraints, she will have to leave by 8:00 PM.

Join us at this informative general meeting at the Heights Fire Station at the corner of 12th Street and Yale. Refreshments graciously provided by Infinity Title.

Fall General Meetings

September 12: Spokes, Soccer, Stadiums here and near the Heights

Bikes for Houston & the 2011 Heights Association Bike Rally (to be held October 2).

Chris Cannetti CEO of the Houston Dynamo will kick an autographed Soccer ball into the Audience.

Janet Schmees, Executive Director of the Houston Harris County Sports Authority - Houston’s Stadiums & Arenas.

Board nominations.

October 10: Be Safe with HHA

Hosted by Houston Heights Crime & Safety Committee, introducing the 2012 Constable Program.

Board candidate speeches.

November 14: HHA Business Showcase & Open House at Fire Station

Board election results tabulation and announcement.

2011 HHA Directors and Officers

Bill Baldwin (2012), President

Donna Bennett (2013)

Keith Crane (2013), VP Finance

Anne Culotta (2011), VP Community Outreach

Mike Easley (2013)

Simon Eyles (2011), VP Historic Preservation

Lindsey Lee (2012), President-Elect and Treasurer

Ellen Newcastle (ND), Secretary

Gilbert Perez (2013)

Martin Piké (2011), VP Property Management

Elizabeth Poirrier (2011*)

Andrea Sharp (2011)

Chris Silkwood (2011*)

Kelly Simmons (ND), VP Sponsorship & Fundraising, VP Information & Communications

Marianne Sulser (2011)

Bart Truxillo (2012)

Matt Bedingfield (2011*)

(Number in parentheses is last year of term or ND for non-Director Officers; * marks interim appointees.)

Platinum Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2011 Platinum sponsor:

Republic Services

Restoration/Historical Committee

The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/ Historical Committee meeting will be held at the cute bungalow property at 3510 White Oak Dr., Thursday, August 18, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

If you are an old-time resident of the Houston Heights, we need you at this meeting to help identify what this building was during its past lives. And if you like cute updates to a small bungalow transforming it into a nostalgic community rest stop to relax and enjoy something different in the Heights community, this is your meeting.

The two Heights resident owners prepared and worked with desserts for restaurants, neighbors, and visitors alike. And after much thought, they decided an all-American main-course specialty-food locale well suits the all-American neighborhood perfectly. Thus they focused on specialty hotdogs including a “build your own.” From the minute you walk in, you get that warm atmosphere, friendly staff, and great customer service feeling, just like home. And everyone asks why the name Happy Fatz? To get that questioned answered, you will just have to attend this meeting. The owners will also explain in detail about their research into hot dogs, the taste testers’ abilities, and the specialty ones they make.

Enormous efforts were taken in this restoration project to integrate the historic features of the house with modern sensibilities. Utilizing a special architect and general contractor to complete the structure with an original appearance remained their focus, and that’s how Happy Fatz, “Divine Delights & Gourmet Bites,” came into being. Even the huge orange tree out front remains intact as testament to their commitment to keeping things as original as possible.

Do plan to attend this meeting to meet and welcome additional Heights residents who really enjoy the neighborhood and who plan to stay for a very long time and to continue to improve their new venture in our Heights neighborhood.

The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public bimonthly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with an appreciation of the historic nature of the Houston Heights. Membership in the Houston Heights Association is encouraged, but not mandatory to attend these events.

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. Dean can be contacted at 713-880-2832 or

Urban Forestry

Request a variance when replacing sidewalks to protect street trees

Reprinted with permission from an article by Evalyn Crudy, Boulevard Oaks Civic Association

City Council recently approved an amendment to the sidewalk ordinance that requires that sidewalks be five feet wide; previously, sidewalks only needed to be 4 feet wide. Although this new requirement is meant to improve pedestrian mobility, it has already threatened a few older trees in our neighborhood and has the potential to alter our neighborhood’s character irreparably. Thankfully, City Council also provided a variance procedure that allows owners to apply for permission to replace their 4-foot sidewalks in the same footprint.

In December, BOCA requested that the City grant an automatic variance for our entire neighborhood so that residents would not have to go through this extra hurdle. This request was denied, but city officials stated that they will grant a variance in cases where adjoining sidewalks are 4 feet wide and where street trees could be damaged - in other words, every sidewalk in the neighborhood.

Sidewalks can be tricky to replace near some of the larger oak trees, so it is essential to use a reputable contractor who knows how to work around large trees without harming them. Many of our older trees have root systems that extend under the sidewalks. Every effort should be made to protect and accommodate roots larger than 3 inches in diameter, rather than hacking them out.

One neighbor who recently replaced a sidewalk in March was unaware that a variance was available, and his contractor failed to tell him. The result was that sizeable portions of the root systems and trunks of two 60-year-old water oak trees were cut out to allow for the wider sidewalk. These trees, which were in great health, will most likely die within the next year. Had the owner applied for a variance, the city forester would have visited the site and granted the variance based on the proximity of the trees and the fact that the adjoining sidewalks were 4 feet.

By contrast, several neighbors in the 2000 block of Milford recently got together to replace their cracked and dangerous sidewalks. They applied for the variance, which was granted in about 48 hours, and the sidewalks were rebuilt at the existing 4-foot width. These neighbors reported that several of the contractors they interviewed were unaware that a variance was available.

So if you are planning to replace your sidewalk, be sure to insist on the 4-foot variance. A variance application form can be downloaded from our website ( There is no cost for a variance, and having one may actually save you 20% on the cost of your replacement project given the skyrocketing concrete prices. For the sake of our trees, please contact the BOCA office if you see sidewalk work taking place near large trees or roots.

Sidewalk replacement on neighborhood streets is officially the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Many of our blocks have applied for city street reconstruction that will include sidewalk replacement. But due to city funding cuts and an overwhelming number of applicants, there is a least a 12-15 year waiting period. For owners who want to replace their sidewalks now without harming the street tree, please consult with a qualified forester, or contact a member of the BOCA tree committee by sending a message to Please visit our website for more information about protecting your street trees.

Constable Statistics

May June
Total Arrests 9 0
Citizen Assists 1 0
Citizen Contacts 131 108
Vacation Watches 401 652
Court Citations 68 83
Alarm Responses 5 3
Suspicious Vehicles 58 32
Park Checks 134 111
Disturbances 7 5
Major Accidents 2 0
Criminal Offenses 4 5
Miles patrolled 3,607 3,137

We Had Summer Fun in Marmion Park

HHA members and Heights neighbors enjoying ice cream and croquet at our June 26 Ice Cream Social and Membership Drive in Marmion Park.

New Members

Please welcome the following members to the Houston Heights Association.

Barbara Bahm

Bettina Bouldin

Jennifer & Alan Cable

Mary & Joe Cesaratto

Jennifer Cote

Howard Cox

Will Davis

Patrick & Gisele Dwyer

Edward Gajcowski & Tammy Hensel

Peggy Gilbert

Emma & Paul Groves

Greg Jones & Yue Cheng

Kristi Mayces

Jennie & Bernard McCoy, Jr.

William Siersdorfer

Karen Singer

Tanner & Jennifer Sykes

Jane & Christopher Walker

West End Pilates, Katharine Barber

New Member Correction

Heather & Colby Whitfield


Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.

Will Davis - Donovan Park & Playground

Dylan & Emma Doss - Flower Gardens & Donovan Park

Kirk & Irma Girouard - Parks & Boulevard

David Leavell & Suzanne Jennings - Boulevard, Flower Gardens, Parks, Fire Station Endowment

Charles & Sonja Novo

Nancy Pittman - Education

Evelyn Born Shanley - Fire Station Endowment

William Weinle - Boulevard

Bronze Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Summer 2011 Bronze Sponsors:

Boulevard Realty Rampart Builders
Linda Eyles Design Inc. My Fit Foods

Road Work Notes

While work on the I-10 frontage roads continues and construction on 11th Street is complete, the next significant road work in and near Houston Heights is the resurfacing of Yale between I-10 and the North Loop, followed by Shepherd and Durham south of I-10. Those of us who drive out US 290 to work, shop, or play will also need to know about the work being done where 290 meets Loop 610.

Yale Street Overlay Project

This project is scheduled to start around August 22 and take three months. It was originally planned to be a major reconstruction to modern thoroughfare standards, which would have endangered many of the street trees lovingly planted two decades ago and just reaching full stature. After negotiations with the HHA Land Use Committee and other organizations, the City decided to reduce the work to an asphalt overlay inside the current footprint in the blocks containing the most endangered trees. Subsequent considerations reduced the project to an overlay in the remaining blocks as well.

Shepherd/Durham Overlay Project

The overlay of Shepherd and Durham from I-10 south to Memorial Drive is scheduled to start mid-September for two months.

IH 610/US 290 Interchange Construction Closures

Listed below is a list of the scheduled closures associated with the IH 610/US 290 interchange construction project, as of July 14, 2011.

• Two inside lanes on IH 610 North Loop eastbound frontage road from T.C. Jester to Ella remain closed through March 1, 2012.

• One inside lane on IH 610 North Loop westbound frontage road from Ella to the US 290/IH 610 interchange remains closed through March 1, 2012.

• The U-turns at Ella and the IH 610 North Loop east- and westbound frontage road remain closed through March 1, 2012. Traffic will detour through the signalized intersection.

• Effective July 14, 2011 at 10:00 p.m., the inside lane on US 290 eastbound frontage road from 34th Street to Dacoma will be closed through March 1, 2012. The U-turns at 34th Street, Mangum and Dacoma will also be closed. Traffic will detour through the signalized intersections while these U-turns are closed.

Please note that all closures are subject to change. For more information on the US 290 Program, including up-to-date information regarding lane closures, please visit the US 290 Program website at or contact the US 290 Public Information Office at 713-354-1532.

Back to School Fun Day at Donovan

Marc Ziegler and Mark Holland of John Daugherty Realtors are holding another play day for heights children at Donovan Park on Saturday, August 20. The fun starts at 2:00 PM and runs till 5:00 in the evening. The main feature will be a giant water slide. Sno cones will be available.

Service Opportunity

Can You Host An International Exchange Student?

In addition to the many HHA events and projects in need of your volunteer time, there are other organizations working within our neighborhood and in the broader community that need your assistance. AFS Intercultural Programs (a 501(c)3 organization) is looking for families in the Heights area to become host families to exchange students arriving in August and September.

According to AFS, “Each year, AFS Intercultural Programs welcomes more than 2,500 international high school students to the U.S. These are outstanding young people who were selected in their home countries to study in U.S. high schools and are eager to experience what it’s like to live in America. Sharing daily life with a teenager from another country and culture is a rich and rewarding experience and is a wonderful way for you and your family to bring more understanding into the world. To find out more about hosting an AFS student, call Peter Woitock at 1-800-876-2377 ext 2917 or email”

Doctors Warn of Heat Dangers for High-Risk People

Doctors at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) are warning about the risks of the intense summer heat, particularly for heart patients and those who might have undiagnosed heart conditions.

Anybody doing outside activities is at risk if they don’t stay properly hydrated, but certain people are at greater risk, pointed out Dr. James T. Willerson, THI’s president and medical director. This includes people who are obese, people with chronic illnesses who are taking certain medicines, and people with low cardiac reserve whose hearts are unable to quickly adjust to the changes the body goes through in extreme heat, such as an increased heart rate.

“Heart failure patients and patients with significant heart disease often have low cardiac reserve. They can become dehydrated very easily, even just by sitting in a house that is too hot or walking outside in hot weather,” said Dr. Willerson. “Heat can also elevate the heart rate and affect blood pressure in patients with significant heart disease.”

Normally, the body cools itself by increasing blood flow to the skin. In hot weather, blood flow to the skin may increase by three times for healthy people. But for heart failure patients, the heart muscle may be too weak and the blood vessels in the skin may not be able to enlarge enough for heat to be released through the skin. That means that heart patients have greater difficulty controlling their body temperature.

Such people should not stay in a building without air conditioning or ride in a car without air conditioning, Willerson advised.

THI physicians also cautioned about the recent wildfires in the region. Studies have found that particulates in wildfire smoke (alone or linked with other pollutants) can exacerbate problems for people with respiratory and cardiac conditions.

“Smoke from these fires can also include concentrations of carbon monoxide that, if it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, can reduce oxygen delivery to the heart and the body’s other organs,” said Dr. Willerson. “People with certain respiratory and cardiac diseases already have issues with low oxygen. Chest pains, arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms, or even death can occur.”

To learn more about risks from extreme heat and advice on how to cope with it, click here.

About the Texas Heart® Institute

The Texas Heart Institute (, founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education and improved patient care. Together with its clinical partner, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, it has been ranked among the top 10 cardiovascular centers in the United States by U.S. News & World Report’s annual guide to “America’s Best Hospitals” for the past 20 years. The Texas Heart Institute is also affiliated with the University of Texas (UT) System, which promotes collaboration in cardiovascular research and education among UT and THI faculty at the Texas Heart Institute and other UT components.

Calendar of Events for August-September 2011








August 1

HHA Land Use, 6:30 PM, Fire Station



4 - garbage and recycling


Deadline for next newsletter




HHA General Meeting, “Mayor Parker,” 7:00 PM, Fire Station



11 - garbage





HHA Board, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


Greater Heights SNC (SN15), 6:30 PM, Fire Station


18 - garbage and recycling

Restoration/ Historical, 7:30 PM, 3510 White Oak



Back to School Fun Day, 2:00-5:00 PM, Donovan Park



HHA Education, 7:00 PM, Fire Station



PIP meeting, 7:00 PM, 1602 State Street

25 - garbage







September 1 - garbage and recycling





Labor Day

HHA Land Use, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


Deadline for next newsletter


8 - garbage





HHA General Meeting, “Sports,” 7:00 PM, Fire Station



15 - garbage and recycling





HHA Board, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


Greater Heights SNC (SN15), 6:30 PM, Fire Station


22 - garbage





HHA Education, 6:30 PM, Fire Station



PIP Meeting, 7:00 PM, 1602 State Street

29 - garbage and recycling


October 1

HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.

Community Calendar

Events planned by other community organizations.

Through September 18, exhibition “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” at The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Drive. Mention you saw this through the Houston Heights Association newsletter and receive the child rate for all adult admissions during the month of August. More information is available on the museum’s website at this link.

August 8, 6:30-9:30 PM, GHSNC and SN22 candidate forum for City Council Districts C and H at the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, 303 Jackson Hill Street. Forums for At-Large Council seats will be held on September 20 and 22 at the same time and location.

August 23, 6:00-8:00 PM, local authors Anne Sloan and Jere Pfister will launch the fall quarter issue of the Houston History Journal (published by UH History Dept.) at the Houston Heights Woman’s Club, 1846 Harvard. Each has an article in this issue. Back issues will be available; wine and cheese will be served.

August 30 is the official 175th birthday of the City of Houston. Visit for information about events and exhibits are being planned for August through November and how to enter a photo of yourself at your favorite Houston location.

September 22-24, 29-30, October 1-2, Opera in the Heights presents Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit

November 10-12 & 17-20, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit

Future History

October 2, Bicycle Rally

December 2-3, Holiday Home Tour

December ?-?, Holiday Basket Preparation and Delivery [new dates uncertain]


February 26, Awards Dinner

April 13-15, Spring Home Tour [note new dates]

June 2, Heights Fun Run

At The Fire Station

Events at the Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station, 12th and Yale

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

August is a “Junk Waste” month; September is a “Tree Waste Only” month. For dates in your area and more information, visit the City Solid Waste site at this link.

The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.

Copyright © 2011, 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

August contributors:

Bill Baldwin, Donna Bennett, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Mike Easley, Lauriel Hindman, Dean Swanson, Lanna vonBaden, Marc Ziegler.

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