In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Eight, Number Two, February 2012|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
38th Annual Houston Heights Association Volunteer Appreciation & Community Improvement Awards Dinner
February 26, 2012
“Reaching New Heights Chefs de Cuisine” with special guest Teresa Byrne Dodge of My Table Magazine
Join us for the General Meeting on February 13, when Teresa Byrne Dodge and Heights Executive Chefs will enlighten us about the food scene in the Heights. Called “Texas’ premiere food writer” by Esquire restaurant critic John Mariani, Teresa Byrne-Dodge has been writing about Houston restaurants for more than 20 years, first as restaurant critic for the Sunday magazine of The Houston Post, then as restaurant critic for Houston Metropolitan Magazine and Houston Life until it folded in 1995.
Since 1984, she has written hundreds of freelance articles for such publications as Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Texas Highways, Southern Living, and many others, and from 1995 to 1996 she was the on-air restaurant critic for KHOU-Channel 11’s morning news show in Houston. She was also the Houston-based editor or coordinator for all editions of the Zagat Houston Restaurant Survey 1988 through 2002. In June 1994, Byrne-Dodge launched a bimonthly 12-page newsletter called My Table: A Critical Guide to Dining in Houston. Response to My Table was immediate and enthusiastic. Today it is a 64-page magazine read by some 22,000 food-loving Houstonians.
In August of 2008, My Table magazine capitalized on its 14 years of experience covering food in Houston to produce The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide To Houston. This 352-page book features more than 750 bakeries, ethnic markets, farmers’ markets, butchers, seafood counters, chocolate shops, coffeehouses, tea rooms, wine bars, wine and spirits retailers, icehouses, brewpubs and, of course, restaurants and cafes. It is the most complete foodie guidebook ever published in Houston.
March General Meeting
Save the date for the March 12 General Meeting, when HISD Board Member, Anna Eastman, and Heights area principals will be on hand to answer your questions.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2012 Platinum sponsor:
President’s Message - Part 2 - Goals for 2012
Houston Heights is one of the most diverse communities in the Houston metropolitan area. The variety of our residents, commercial enterprises, community organizations, and architecture is what unites Houston Heights as a neighborhood. We love being part of a “small town community in the heart of Houston where neighbors and businesses thrive, children learn and play, and history lives.” My goal while serving as President of the Houston Heights Association this year is to promote and support our mission to “foster a sense of community among the diverse segments of the neighborhood … in an atmosphere of friendliness, cooperation and fun.”
One area of my efforts will be to increase the number of volunteers participating in HHA activities. As a volunteer organization, the Houston Heights Association depends greatly on its members contributing their time to the organization’s effort. Without our volunteers, HHA would not be able to provide the programs and events that allow us to achieve our mission. On Sunday, February 26, HHA hosts its annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Dinner to thank our volunteers for their commitment and contributions to improving our community.
Deb and I lived in Houston Heights for almost four years before I became involved with the HHA. The main reason I did not volunteer earlier was because I did not know how I could help. One day, Chris Silkwood asked my wife if I would serve as Treasurer of the Association. Deb said yes without asking me, and thus started my participation in the HHA.
We need your help. The Houston Heights Association has many opportunities for you to make Houston Heights a better place to live. For example, over 300 people will be needed to ensure the success of the 2012 Home & Garden Tour and Candlelight Dinner during the weekend of April 13-15. The Education Committee, the Fun Run Committee, the Land Use Committee, and the Bike Rally Committee are additional examples of HHA activities that need you.
Since 1997, the Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station has served as a community center for Houston Heights. This 7,000-square-foot building, built in 1914, served as Houston Heights’ original city hall, jail, and fire station. Located at 12th and Yale Streets, it has changed little since its construction. The City of Houston operated the building as a fire station from annexation in 1918 until 1995. The Houston Heights Association obtained a 30-year lease from the City of Houston and immediately began restoration of this beautiful, historic building. Subsequently, the Association purchased the facility from the City of Houston in December 2009.
With the building’s centennial approaching, HHA is committed to renovating and restoring the Fire Station to be consistent with its history and its use as a community center. Bill Baldwin is leading this effort. Planning and fundraising for restoration of the Fire Station is ongoing and is a primary focus of the HHA Board of Directors. The renovation and restoration of the Fire Station is the Houston Heights’ most ambitious undertaking to date. Last year, over $100,000 was invested in repairing the Fire Station’s brick façade and replacing its garage doors to be consistent with the building’s original design. This year, we need to replace all the air conditioning units and will begin renovating the first floor interior.
The Fire Station Restoration Committee meets on the third Monday of every month. The committee needs help planning, designing, and implementing the Fire Station’s restoration and raising the funds to pay for the improvements. If you are interested preserving history, restoring this crown jewel of Houston Heights, and/or creating a community center for the residents of Houston Heights, we can use your help.
Please attend the next meeting of the Fire Station Restoration Committee, on Monday, February 20 at 5:30 pm.
The recent drought has devastated trees and groundscape all over Houston. The esplanade along Heights Boulevard has been significantly impacted. As stewards of Heights Boulevard, HHA is responsible for maintaining the trees in the esplanade. The Houston Heights Association is dedicated to conserving the tree canopy along the Boulevard since it is one of the features that make our neighborhood so attractive. Due to the damage from the drought, the need for our support has grown dramatically. Each month, Jim Bennett leads a group of volunteers to mulch, plant, and maintain the Boulevard’s trees. We need more people to help maintain the trees. In addition, we need financial contributions to pay for trees to replace the trees that have died. Your support in these efforts will keep Houston Heights green.
In closing, the diversity of our neighborhood is what unites us and the reason we call Houston Heights home. My goal is to foster this sense of community by encouraging each resident of Houston Heights to become involved in our neighborhood to help make Houston Heights an even greater place to live.
Heights Constable Program
Congratulations to Jonathan Rao and Adrian and Patty McGrail for winning the drawing for a paid year’s subscription to the Heights Constable Program. Thanks to all who paid early and helped launch our 2012 program to a great start. It is not too late to subscribe or renew your subscription. You may pay online by credit card at PDF edition of this issue and return it to the address on the reverse (or drop it in the email slot in the office door at the Fire Station). or fill in the coupon in the print or
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Another Place in Time - Boulevard
Matt Bedingfield - Boulevard, Fire Station Restoration
Shirley Brown - Boulevard
Mary Case - Boulevard in memory of Joan Robins
Melvalene Cohen - Fire Station Restoration in memory of Joe Dupuis
ExxonMobil Foundation - Volunteer Grant on behalf of Donna Bennett
Beth Gallagher - Boulevard
Joan Kerr - Fire Station Restoration
Joseph & Rebecca Leahy - Donovan Playground, Flower Gardens
Lauren & Lee Lindsey - Donovan Park
Jordan Marye & Emily Gibson - Parks, Boulevard, Flower Gardens, Fire Station Restoration
Mike Maler & Linda Poyser - Fire Station Restoration
Dennis & Ashley McQueen - Fire Station Restoration
E. Drew Mehlhaff - Fire Station Restoration
Jim Prock & Jeff Brown - Boulevard, Flower Gardens
Jonathan Rao - Heights Constable Patrol
John Rogers & Suzanne Labarthe - Boulevard
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2011-2012 Silver sponsor:
2012 Houston Heights Association Home & Garden Tour
“Opening Doors - The Key to Our Future is Hinged on Our Past”
Plans are already underway for a spectacular Spring Home & Garden Tour to be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15. The Houston Heights Association home tours are among the best and most successful in the state of Texas, due in large part to the generosity and immense talents found right here in the neighborhood.
The Homes & Gardens
The Candlelight Dinner
We are excited to announce the venue for the 2012 Candlelight Dinner & Auction.
This year the event will be held on Friday, April 13, 2012, at the funky and popular locale of SPJST Lodge 88. Often referred to as the Houston Heights’ social event of the year, this evening begins with a private tour of homes from 5:00 to 7:00 PM (before they are opened to the public that weekend) and a fun evening of fine dining, open bar, a spectacular live and silent auction, and for the first time, the Candlelight Dinner will host an electric after-hours party with a raffle, local band, and dancing adding to the excitement of the night and opening doors to a wider audience.
Please mark your calendars now for the Candlelight Dinner & Auction on April 13. Tickets will go on sale approximately March 1.
A large crew of volunteers is already in high gear creating the highly anticipated live and silent auctions that take place at the Candlelight Dinner. It takes a village to pull this auction together, and the proceeds are very important to continue to fund the many projects undertaken by the Houston Heights Association for the benefit of our neighborhood.
Please help us by donating an item or a gift certificate to this very important and high-profile event. In addition to your kind generosity and helping hand, you will receive acknowledgment in the evening’s wonderful gala program which is taken home by approximately 500 distinguished guests, on the bid sheets accompanying your donation, in the wrap-up newsletter article after the conclusion of the auction, and additionally, you may provide marketing material and reasonably-sized signage to be placed alongside your donation. We also encourage our volunteers and the guests at the dinner to support the businesses and artists who contribute to this event.
We are also looking for a few good men/women to join the Auction Committee, which entails soliciting and collecting donations and helping organize, set up, and design the silent auction on the eve of the event. If you would like to make a donation to the Candlelight Dinner Auction or volunteer on the Auction Committee, please e-mail .
The Featured Artist
We are very excited to announce that the featured artist for the 2012 Houston Heights Association Home & Garden Tour is J Antonio Farfan. Mr. Farfan has created a custom work to be used in marketing material throughout the event, the original canvas of which will go to the highest bidder during the Candlelight Dinner’s Live Auction. You can visit J Antonio Farfan’s website at .
We can’t pull this event off without our wonderful volunteers. We have at least 200 openings for docents and ticket sellers - each home requires an average of 40 volunteers over the course of the weekend. The volunteer shifts are only three hours long, and you will receive a complimentary home tour ticket in exchange for your invaluable time. This is a great way to give back to your community, meet new people in the neighborhood, and have a lot of fun in the process. If you like volunteering as a docent or ticket seller and you have the time, you may want to step it up the next year and become a head docent or a committee chair! You may volunteer by e-mailing .
You can expect more fun details on the Home & Garden Tour, the Candlelight Dinner, and the Auction in the coming couple of months. If you have any questions or comments at all, please contact us at . You can also visit for all of the current information.
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
Chris & Vanessa Collins
Local 911, C.O.P.S. (Coalition of Police & Sheriffs)
Andrew & Karie Costa
Bill & Roxanne Davis
e-Document Services, Michael Ventura
Clay Hartley & Christa Steekelenburg
Pam Hilmes & Rebecca Pope
Kimberly K. Lea
Michelle & Scott Macicek
Maxitile, Inc., Paul Vercher
Kris & Jean-Marc Mira
Jason & Annette Moore
David & Jessica Nute
Jeannine, Daniel & Liam Parker
Dante & Jodi Peduzzi
Jada & Matthew Phillips
Caitlin & Ryan Pickard
Jim Prock & Jeff Brown
Samantha Pham Spittell
Clyde & Candi Stearns
Teresa C. Coffman, Realtor
The Dentists at 650 Heights, Alicia Valentini
Heather Thompson & Glenn Williams
Catie & Brian Winegar
Larry & Marie Wise
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Winter 2011-2012 Bronze Sponsors:
HHA Loses Long-Time Volunteer Joan Robins
Joan Robins, tireless HHA volunteer died on Tuesday, January 3 following emergency cardiac surgery. Joan lived for over 15 years at 1815 Columbia before moving in 2006 to a senior living complex, Eagles Trace on Hwy 6.
Joan was a regular volunteer on the Boulevard Committee. She was the self-appointed custodian of Cohen Plaza. She made a regular practice of picking up trash as she walked the jogging trail.
Joan was given a special award by Jim Bennett at the 2006 HHA Volunteer Dinner [left] for the impact she had on boulevard beautification.
Though Joan had moved from the Heights, she kept her HHA membership current and stayed in touch with her friends in the Heights. A group of her fellow HHA boulevard volunteers are planning a tree planting ceremony in her honor this spring. She was 79 years old.
Woman’s Club Dinner Announced
On Saturday, February 4, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, the Houston Heights Woman’s Club hosts the first of their 2012 Cork and Fork dinners. Hostesses Shea Sandefer Hill and Jennifer Pipkin will be celebrating the wine and cuisine of Argentina. This casual event is a potluck style dinner. There is no cost to attend, just bring a bottle of wine and a small dish to share (following the theme of the evening). Members, non-members, and spouses are welcome. The dinner is held at the HHWC Clubhouse, 1846 Harvard. RSVP to Shea at 713-449-1850 or .
Woman’s Club Building Historical Marker
A Texas Historical Marker has been placed at the Houston Heights Woman’s Club Building at 1848 Harvard. Around 100 dignitaries, club members, and community members gathered on January 21 to dedicate and unveil the marker.
January Voter Registration Certificate Mailing Delayed
Normally, in mid-January of every even-numbered year, persons registered to vote in Harris County receive their new voter certificate in the mail. Not this year. The 2012 redistricting maps drawn by the Texas Legislature are in dispute, and the matter is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“My office cannot prepare and mail the new certificates until the court has approved the final maps. Only after that can voters be assigned to the correct voting precinct,” said Don Sumners, the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar. The Democratic and Republican party primaries have been delayed by the same dispute and now are scheduled for April 3.
“The delay in mailing the registration certificates will not interfere with anyone’s right to vote. I and my Voter Registration Department will support and protect the rights of every qualified voter. We will prepare and mail every certificate as soon as we can after the Supreme Court decides this case,” Sumners said. “Look for a new certificate - yellow and white this year - soon after the decision is final.”
New Resource For Finding Lost Pets
A new Facebook page has been created to help get lost and found pets home to their families. If you’re on Facebook, you can “like” this page to keep up to date on animals that have gone missing from their people in our neighborhood or post your own lost pet’s picture and description.
Calendar of Events for February–March 2012
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
February 17 - March 3, UpStage Theatre presents The Beverly Hillbillies at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit
March 15-17, 22-25, Opera in the Heights presents Verdi’s Il Trovatore in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
April 21 - May 6, UpStage Theatre presents Cinderella at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit
May 18 - June 2, UpStage Theatre presents Twelve Angry Men, Twelve Angry Women, and Twelve Angry Jurors (one version per weekend) at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit
June 9-24, UpStage Theatre presents Robin Hood at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit
July 6-28, UpStage Theatre presents Happy Days, a new musical at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit
April 13-15, Spring Home Tour
June 2, Heights Fun Run
October 7, Bicycle Rally
November 30 and December 1, Holiday Home Tour
December, Holiday Food Baskets [dates uncertain]
February 24, Awards Dinner
At The Properties
Heights Tai Chi Association meets Saturdays 9:00 AM and Wednesdays at 7:00 PM in Marmion Park, Heights at 18th.
Heavy Trash Notes
February is a “Junk Waste” month; March is a “Tree Waste Only” month. For dates in your area, visit the City Solid Waste site.
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 © 2012, 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
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Paul Carr, Lina Fairchild, Lauriel Hindman, Lindsey Lee, Kelly Simmons, Viula Torgerson, Lanna von Baden, Maureen Weyel.