USPS informed delivery will show scans of customer mail as mail is processed by Michael Graves

You can now see the mail destined for your mailbox before it arrives. The service is called Informed Delivery. It works like this: USPS digitally images the front of mail pieces that run through its automation equipment. An email is generated each day your household has mail that is processed through automation equipment. If no mail is processed through automation that day, you will not get a notice. Package imaging is not available.

Activating Informed Delivery service requires opening an account online at Verification of your identity requires you to answer a number of questions. The online verification process is not always successful, so the fallback is to go to in person to a USPS location to sign up. 

The nearest substation to Woodland Heights where you can sign up is River Oaks, 1900 West Gray. However, River Oaks substation is not open on Saturday. The nearest substation to Woodland Heights at which you can get verified in person on Saturday is Oak Forest, located at 2499 Judiway at East T.C. Jester. The Oak Forest substation is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. It is also open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Historic District Design Guidelines Available online and at Heights Library by Michael Graves

Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, a strategy report, is now available online and in hard copy at the Heights Library reference desk, where it will be retained on a permanent basis. There are three copies of the Design Guidelines, but the volumes are for in-library use only. A coin-operated copy machine is available at the Heights Library; black-and-white copies cost 15 cents per page. The report is contained in a three-ring binder, which makes copying easy.

In addition to the Design Guidelines report, videos of earlier Historic District community workshops are available online at the project’s webpage:

The next Community Workshop for Historic Districts is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Heights Fire Station, 107 West 12th Street. 

For more information, contact Steph McDougal, project manager, City of Houston Planning & Development Dept., 832-393-6541, or email:

Houston Innovation Week 2017 by Michael Graves

Houston Innovation Week 2017 will be at the Leonel Castillo Center May 1st-5th . Classes on Thursday, May 4th will be entirely in Spanish.

Over 30 free, one-hour business and financial education sessions will be offered on leadership, innovation, financial success, marketing, and social entrepreneurship.

People can sign up and get more info on the website: 

The Constable Patrol: Introducing Deputy Hathhorn by Michael Graves

This post is part of an effort to introduce the people who patrol the Woodland Heights as part of the Constable Patrol Program.

As a native Houstonian, Deputy Hathhorn is the night time patrol Deputy for Woodland Heights. While Deputy Hathhorn is new to the Woodland Heights contract, he has been with Harris
County Constable Precinct 1 for six years.

Deputy Hathhorn served for three of those years as a Reserve Deputy. He enjoys serving others. He served the City of Friendswood, Texas as a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician for six years. In 2016 he was awarded a Bravery Medal
by Constable Alan Rosen. Without regard to his own personal safety, Deputy Hathhorn placed himself in harm’s way to savea citizen.

He has been married for sixteen years and has two children. He loves dogs, raises cattle, and enjoys outdoor life. Deputy Hathhorn believes that community policing has a huge impact
in Woodland Heights. He serves this community as if it were his own community.

Meet The WHCA Board for 2017-8 by Michael Graves

The picture above was taken on March 21st following the WHCA General Meeting that elected the board for the coming year. The new board is (Left-to-Right):

Tyson Greer, President
Melissa Sternfels, VP Membership
Brad Snead, VP Security
Michael Graves, VP Communication
Beth Allen-Brock, Secretary
Matthew Reynolds, President-Elect
Carla Reed, VP Beautification
Craig L Jackson, VP Deed Restrictions
Melissa McKee, Treasurer
Matt Johnson, VP Infrastructure (not shown)

The board meets to conduct the business of the WHCA once a month. In addition, general meetings are held every second month.




WHCA March 2017 Newsletter by Michael Graves

Last week the WHCA newsletter for March was printed and passed to the block captains for distribution. By now most residents should have received one at their door. You can also download a copy by clicking on the image shown here.

This issue of the newsletter contains:

  • The Friends of Woodland Park Firefly Field Day.
  • Details about the Constable Patrol Program for 2017-18.
  • Introductions to our Harris County Deputies.
  • News of changes to the FEMA flood insurance program affecting Woodland Terrace residents
  • A financial update for WHCA.
  • A listing of the newly elected WHCA board of Directors.

This issue places special emphasis on membership renewal and the Constable Patrol Program, which both run from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. We're hopeful that the membership appreciates the benefits provided by the Constable Patrol. Our ability to sustain the patrol coverage depends upon sufficient households supporting the Constable Patrol Program in this new year.

Friends Of Woodland Park Firefly Field Day by Michael Graves

On Saturday, Feb. 25th the Friends of Woodland Park (“FWP”) held Firefly Field Day at Woodland Park.  The event was generously underwritten by the WHCA.  The weather was perfect, and the turnout was tremendous as residents from all over the greater Heights area attended.

As has become a custom for our family friendly events, Bayou City Play brought their crafts, materials, and creativity for the children to build whatever they wished.

Our FWP Master Naturalist and Travis Elementary Garden Instructor, Steve Brennan, was there with his plant, animal and critter materials which are always a huge hit with children of all ages.
The primary purpose of our event was to introduce the neighborhood to the now fully approved Firefly Field sculpture designed by fourth generation Woodland Heights resident, Dylan Conner.  Our sculptor was there and engaged many of the attendees with his concept and design for this incredible addition to the park.  We had renderings prepared by our landscape architectural advisors and advocates, SWA, to show everyone just exactly what the sculpture will look like when installed.  We also had fun giveaways, door prizes and snacks for all in attendance.

We were very proud to introduce our City Council District H Representative and Woodland Heights resident, Karla Cisneros, who provided some very kind words and presented a check for $10,000 as the first donation for the Firefly Field!

But the fun and donations did not end there.  Representatives from Elan Heights/Greystar were also there to present the FWP with a check for $15,000 to fully underwrite the matching fund required to have a B-cycle station installed in the park.  Word from the executive director of the B-cycle program is that our application is being fast tracked and the station will be powered via solar energy so that it can be installed and fully functioning before summer arrives.

Woodland Park was once the destination for entertainment and outdoor fun for Houstonians. With Firefly Field, we hope to return this historic park to some of its former glory. We know the surrounding community will benefit from a rejuvenated park culture full of activity and exploration. Please visit the project’s website and consider supporting Firefly Field (

- Pat Rutledge for Friends of Woodland Park

Historic District Workshop March 30, 2017 by Michael Graves

Workshop will reveal results of Design Survey And take community comments

A community workshop on March 30 will be conducted by the City of Houston Planning & Development Department to present results from a survey of historic districts and to gather feedback. The workshop will take place Thursday, March 30, at Heights Theatre, from 6:00 p.m. until 8 p.m. Address of Heights Theatre is 339 W. 19th Street.

According to its website, the City received 871 responses to a Compatible Design Survey it mailed to owners of 3,486 properties located in six historic districts. The highest survey participation rates were in Freeland (64% of 36 properties) and Woodland Heights (30% of 386 properties). The highest number of responses came from Houston Heights East (237, or 26%) and Norhill (197, or 23%).

The results of the mail survey, as well as input from meetings, were used to develop a Strategy Paper. The Strategy Paper also includes findings and recommendations from consultants.

Copies of the Strategy Paper will be available for review beginning March 16 online ( and at the Heights Library reference desk for two weeks prior to the March 30 workshop and for one week afterward.

Anyone unable to attend the workshop may submit comments or questions through Sunday, April 9, online to project manager Steph McDougal at or via postal mail to Steph McDougal, City of Houston, P.O. Box 1562, Houston TX 77251-1562.

WHCA General Meeting Reminder by Michael Graves

We want to see you there!

The next WHCA general meeting is set for Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Hogg Middle School Cafeteria. The key item for the meeting is election of new WHCA Board members for the 2017-18 term.

The following positions are up for election:

  • President (presides over board meetings, oversees all business and operations of the Association)
  • President-Elect (president in waiting for the 2018-19 term)
  • Treasurer (handles the WHCA's accounting, must be proficient in accounting concepts and software)
  • Secretary (prepares minutes of WHCA board and general meetings, maintains books and records of the WHCA)
  • VP, Beautification (responsible for nominating yard of the month, proposing and executing other beautification projects)
  • VP, Communications (responsible for maintaining the website and preparing and distributing the newsletter)
  • VP, Deed Restrictions (responsible for monitoring land use and deed restriction issues in the neighborhood, must be a lawyer licensed in Texas)
  • VP, Infrastructure (responsible for monitoring all infrastructure issues in the neighborhood, such as the recent sidewalk construction and METRO issues)
  • VP, Membership (sign up new members each year, maintain database of members)
  • VP, Security (responsible for managing the Constable program and contracts)

If you would like to nominate yourself, download the nomination form, fill it out, and email it to the nominating committee at Nominations must be submitted by Monday, March 20th. Nominations from the floor are not permitted.

Please note: to be considered for any Board position, you must be a paid member of the WHCA prior to election. Thanks!

The Constable Patrol: Introducing Deputy Vest by Michael Graves

This post is part of an effort to introduce the people who patrol the Woodland Heights as part of the Constable Patrol Program.

Deputy David Vest is originally from Alvin, Texas and now resides in Houston, graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in criminal science. He's been patrolling the neighborhood for three years and has been employed with Harris County Constables Office since 2005. Has a brother that is also a Deputy Sheriff in another county. He enjoys hunting, fishing, outdoor recreational activities and attends as many Texas A&M football games as his time allows. He enjoys patrolling the Woodland Heights because of the small community relations and its citizens.

Reminder: Nominations open for the 2017-8 WHCA Board by Michael Graves

The following Woodland Heights neighbors have agreed to be on the nominating committee for the Woodland Heights Civic Association Board Positions for the March 2017 to March 2018 board term. 

Rosie Walker (
Pat Rutledge (
Carla Reed (
Brad Snead (
Matt Hartzell (

If you are interested in a WHCA board position for the March 2017 to March 2018 term then please send an email to one of the members of the nominating committee with the completed nomination form.

All WHCA Board Positions are open for nominations for next year: President, President Elect, VP-Treasurer, VP-Deed Restriction, VP-Security, VP-Infrastructure, VP-Communications, VP-Beautification, VP-Secretary and VP-Membership. 

As a reminder, the WHCA board elections will be held on March 21, 2017 at 7:00 PM at Hogg Middle School. Nominations at the meeting are not permitted so please make sure to send in any nominations before the March 21 meeting. 

All WHCA Board members must be current members of the WHCA and the VP of deed restrictions must be a licensed attorney. 

Michael Graves
VP Communications, WHCA

FWP Firefly Field Event Saturday, Feb 25th 10am-1pm by Michael Graves

Please join the Friends of Woodland Park (FWP) as we celebrate our past successes, our tremendous future plans, and our 10th anniversary. We will be hosting a free, rain or shine, family fun day in the community center building at the park: 212 Parkview St.

We are excited to be bringing Bayou City Play back to Woodland Park for another opportunity to enchant and energize children of all ages. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

We are looking forward to sharing our "monumental" plans for 2017 with the community and are fortunate to have some special guests helping us, including Council Member Karla Cisneros.

CM Cisneros will help us unveil our plans for "Firefly Field", a truly inspiring sculpture designed by our fourth-generation Woodland Heights resident and metal sculptor extraordinaire, Dylan Conner. Fundraising for this park gateway installation, which is planned for the great lawn, will take place in the coming weeks. We look forward to an outpouring of community support for this remarkable addition to the park.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the Woodland Heights Civic Association for their continued support of our efforts, and for their specific sponsorship and underwriting of this family event.

Neighborhood Traffic Management Update by Michael Graves


Yesterday, we received word from the City of Houston Public Works that they are moving forward with the installation of the speed cushions, based on feedback from the neighborhood.  The email from Public Works is below:

"Below is a summary of the public feedback on the latest proposed speed cushion plan (presented to the residents at the 12/06/2016 public meeting).
After careful consideration of the latest feedback as well as comments from the previous public meetings, the Department decided to move forward with the installation of the speed cushions. Here are the next steps.
  1. We’ll collect additional speed and volume data before the cushions are installed.
  2. After the cushions are in place and the traffic settled down, we’ll collect speed and volume data to determine the cushions’ effectiveness and impacts.
  3. We’ll conduct another public meeting to present the before and after data, and recommend modifications to the plan if necessary.
Please notify the residents of our decision."

Matt Johnson
VP Infrastructure, WHCA


Introducing Your 2016-17 WHCA Board by Michael Graves

Last month we listed the names of the WHCA Board and the positions they held. This month we are furthering that introduction by sharing a photo along with more personal information about each of our board members.  Now, when you reach out to a WHCA Board member you can make a more personal connection with a neighbor that gives their time freely to serve you and the community in which you live.  – Roger Moxley

Tyson Greer.jpg

Tyson Greer, President-Elect

Tyson Greer, President-Elect assists the President in carrying out the mission and objectives of the WHCA.  Tyson has lived in the neighborhood since 2010 with his wife Jan. Both from smaller towns, they were drawn to the Woodland Heights for its neighborhood feel, location and beautiful historic homes as the perfect spot to raise a family in Houston. They’ve since added two more to the crew (Moses and John) and you can see them pretty much every weekend at the “Dinosaur Park” or cruising the neighborhood in an array of miniature vehicles.  Tyson joined the WHCA board to help preserve its history and charm but also ensure that the neighborhood progresses with its place at the center of one of the largest and most diverse urban environments in the country. 

Susan Pennebaker, Secretary.

 Susan and her husband Ward moved to Woodland Heights in 2012.  Also known as “the dinosaur people”, the Pennebakers have been involved with Association activities throughout their residency in the neighborhood. Susan has served as Secretary of the Association since 2015. Her responsibilities include preparing the Minutes of all Board and General meetings, maintaining key Board documents (both electronically and in print), and responding to online inquiries directed to her account. Passionate about not only our neighborhood, but also the community-at-large, Susan is active as a Board or Committee member of the United Way of Greater Houston, the McGovern Health Museum, the American Leadership Forum and the KKG Charitable Foundation. She is a Principal of Pennebaker, a marketing/advertising firm.

Michael Graves, VP Communications

Michael Graves, VP Communications, is responsible for the various channels that the board uses to communicate with the neighborhood, including; the WHCA web site, email mailing lists, and WHCA-related activity on Facebook, Nextdoor and Twitter. He also oversees the regular production of a monthly email newsletter.  A home-office based technologist with a background in media production, Michael has a longstanding aversion to commuting. He’s been a WHCA resident since relocating from Toronto in 1998 and can often be found in one of our many public parks, riding a bike, walking his dogs or flying kites.

Carla Reed, VP Beautification

Carla Reed, VP Beautification monitors the community entrances, common areas, and neighborhood entry signs at Watson esplanade, Houston Ave., and N. Main.  She and her husband Adrian raised both of their now adult children in the Woodland Heights and have been in the neighborhood for over 20 years.  As a scientist with a passion for gardening, she spent a decade running the garden at Travis Elementary where both of her kids went to school.  It is with the greatest pleasure that she gets to pick the yard of the month.

Melissa McKee, Treasurer

Melissa McKee, Treasurer keeps the WHCA in top financial condition by maintaining the Association's books; physically writing and depositing checks in addition to tracking electronic payments; reconciling bank accounts; presenting financial statements at meetings; and, preparing and submitting the required tax returns. Melissa studied Accounting at Texas A&M University, where she also met her husband. She loves rock 'n' roll, the great outdoors, scrapbooking, and all-day breakfast. She wanted to “give back” to her dearly beloved 'hood of six years by joining the Board in April 2016.

Brad Snead, VP Security

Brad Snead, VP Security oversees the Constable Program as well as collects and reports on crime statistics in our neighborhood.  Brad is an attorney at Wright & Close, LLP and specializes in civil appeals. He is happily married to Lauren Snead, who is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Houston. They have lived on Omar Street since 2010 and have a lab-golden retriever mix named Maggie. She barks a little too much, but isotherwise the sweetest and cutest dog in the neighborhood.

William Getschow, President

William Getschow, President through March 31, 2017.  William has been a resident of the Woodland Heights since 2006 and a lifelong Houstonian.  William has been very active with the July 4th Parade and other Woodland Heights community events over the last few years.

VP Deed Restrictions

We are currently seeking a replacement for Gigi John the current VP Deed Restrictions who will not be continuing in this position after March 31, 2017.  This is a very important position in that the VP Deed Restrictions reviews and provides the position of the WHCA as to whether new build or remodel plans meet deed restrictions.   The position also coordinates revisions/updates of existing deed restrictions; coordinates new deed restrictions for unrestricted subdivisions; educates neighbors/realtors about the importance of deed restrictions, the role they play in historical integrity and quality of life in your neighborhood.  As soon as Gigi’s replacement has been selected we will publish a photo and bio on that person as well.

VP Membership

VP Membership actively seeks ways to increase the WHCA membership by keeping residents informed of what their dues pay for; solicits feedback from residents on ideas to increase membership; coordinates a New Resident Welcoming program and the Block Captain program. Roger Moxley held this position for a portion 2016-17, resigning in early February, not long after preparing the material for this story. The position will remain vacant until board elections in March.