Talking Trash with Rollout! Houston by Michael Graves

Not long ago someone commented on NextDoor that they were finally able to keep track of the city schedule for yard waste and heavy trash by watching the WHCA calendar right here on our website. This was completely unexpected! I didn’t think that anyone particularly made use of our calendar, except perhaps our own board members. All of our meetings are listed there.

I thought I’d share my technique for staying on top of the city’s rather confusing trash collection schedule; the Rollout! Houston app. A free smart phone app Rollout is available for both Apple and Android phones, also iPads.

Once installed you enter your zip code or allow the app to determine your location. It looks up the SWM schedule for that location, presenting it with a minimum of clutter or fuss. It’s dramatically simpler than using the COH website. You can instantly know what’s being collected this week, or to lookup the next time heavy trash or yard waste is being picked up.

Rollout! was created as part of a City of Houston Hackathon by Kenton Gray (@kentonue). Joel Cook helped with the design. Its creation dates back to when Annise Parker was mayor. I have found it to be a very reliable way to know when the trucks will be rolling through Woodland Heights.

If you have community events that you’d like added to our calendar, please email the details to communications@woodland-heights.org.

The new WHCA newsletter is on its way! by Michael Graves

The current edition of the WHCA newsletter is one of our special printed issues! The finished goods were returned from the printer on Tuesday. A few lucky households might have received theirs before we were beset by rain on Wednesday.

Our brave team of volunteer block captains are currently working to distribute them door-to-door. I would hope that everyone will get their copy in the coming few days.

If you’re in a hurry, you can download a PDF copy right here.

Infrastructure Corner by Michael Graves

The WHCA board would like to start a new feature providing periodic updates of infrastructure-related issues, both big and small, happening in and around the neighborhood. Infrastructure projects require both vision and funding. So we want to keep everyone informed of, not only what is going on, but how those projects are being funded. We’d also like to use this feature to invite feedback on infrastructure projects that you would like to see to improve the safety and enjoyment of our neighborhood. Email us at infrastructure@woodland-heights.org.

So what’s going on? Here are a few things . . .

Houston Ave & White Oak Intersection Nears Completion

If you haven’t seen it yet, the construction is almost finished at the intersection of Houston Ave and White Oak. The City removed the “slip road” connecting White Oak to Houston Ave, widened the sidewalks connecting Woodland Park to the White Oak Bayou Trail, and generally improved the pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure to make the intersection safer for all road users. There is even some green “kermit” striping for a bike lane. And, in case you were wondering, the clock tower is back in.

How was this project funded? It was primarily a combination of funds from Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone # 5—or TIRZ 5—and the Greater Northside Management District. For those who don’t know, a “TIRZ” is a political entity in the City limits that retains a portion of property taxes within its district. TIRZ 5 is called “Memorial Heights,” which primarily covers areas surrounding Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou. It does not cover our neighborhood, but it comes close. On the other hand, the Greater Northside Management District covers our neighborhood and most of the Heights East of Yale and South of North Main. It’s funded by a property tax on local commercial businesses.

You can find more information on TIRZ 5 at https://www.houstontx.gov/ecodev/tirz/5.html and on the Greater Northside Management District at http://www.greaternorthsidedistrict.org/home.shtml.

Road Diet and Bike Lane on Houston Ave (White Oak to Spring Street)

Remember the temporary bike lane on Houston Ave during recent construction to I-45? Thanks to City Council Member Karla Cisneros, that bike lane has been made permanent. She used funds from City Council District H to reduce the lanes on Houston Ave between White Oak and Spring Street from four to two (i.e., a “road diet”), and to install protected bike lanes on both sides of the street. This can be a key “North/South” connector between the two bayou trails. They call the barriers “armadillos.”

Houston Ave Bike Lane.jpg

You can find more information about both of these projects from a local blogger: http://houstreets.com/2019/06/03/houston-ave-white-oak-dr-redesign-complete/

More B-Cycle Stations

On Wednesday, May 30, 2019, Houston B-Cycle installed two new stations in the Heights. The first is at 11th Street and Heights Blvd (Heights Central Station) and the second is at 7th and Yale (Heights Mercantile). That brings the total number of stations in the Heights to five (Woodland Park, Stude Park, Bobcat Teddy’s, Heights Central Station, and Heights Mercantile), with a number of additional stations just outside of our area.

You may ask why at these locations? Because these developers helped fund the stations. Houston B-Cycle is currently operating on a large grant that requires local funding for 50% of each station, which ranges from $10-20k. You can find the full map B-Cycle station map here: http://houston.bcycle.com/station-map. Where else would you like to see a B-Cycle station in our neighborhood?

That’s it for now. We’d love to hear from you about infrastructure projects you’d like to see in and around the neighborhood. And please let us know of current or future projects you hear about. Again, email us at infrastructure@woodland-heights.org.

Brad Snead
WHCA Director of Infrastructure

About the 11th Street "Road Diet" by Michael Graves

Did you miss the meeting at Hogg Middle School last night regarding 11th Street? Here's the latest!

Ian Hlavacek and Lauren Grove presented a proposal to reconfigure 11th street between Shepherd and Michaux. The proposal, called a 'Road Diet', has been shown to:

a) accommodate existing and future traffic
b) will not divert traffic to side streets
c) reduce traffic speed
d) decrease unsafe driving maneuvers like weaving
e) introduce a safe east-west bike route
f) improve safety for people walking along and crossing 11th
g) increase safety for people using the Nicholson Trail
h) serve cross streets and driveways effectively
i) could increase travel time for drivers up to 30 seconds

Here's an article with a video that helps demonstrate how road diets work: https://www.vox.com/2018/7/25/17593344/road-diets-lane-conversion-traffic-calming-explained-video

Note that this configuration will also allow for the installation of 'pedestrian refuges,' or islands, which will make pedestrian crossings easier and safer. The City has received many calls and emails over the years from our community advocating for a safer crossing at the Nicholson Trail crossing at 11th. This configuration will make these safer crossings available at other spots as well, especially those that serve our kids on foot and bikes going to school.

These refuges are also planned for Studewood. This article illustrates how pedestrian refuges work: http://pedbikesafe.org/PEDSAFE/countermeasures_detail.cfm?CM_NUM=19

Looking around our own neighborhood we have at least a few examples of four lanes reducing to two or three:

  • Studemont to Studewood as you travel north

  • Cavalcade to 20th

  • Waugh to Heights

To voice your comments:

  • ian.hlavacek@houstontx.gov

  • lauren.grove@houstontx.gov

  • jennifer.ostlind@houstontx.gov

Houston Bikeways 11th Street Public Meeting #2 by Michael Graves

5fcae4f3-120e-427a-868c-28337da3d160.png

Wednesday, May 8 from 6:30-8pm at Hogg Middle School is the City of Houston’s second public meeting to discuss proposed street safety improvements along 11th street between Shepherd St. and Michaux St. We encourage everyone to attend.

The Planning Department and Houston Public Works have decided to table proposed bikeways on Pecore and the western section of 11th from Shepherd to T.C. Jester/White Oak Bayou. We will discuss this decision in further detail at the May 8th meeting.

We will present an overview of the 11th Street proposal between Shepherd and Michaux, focusing on detailed information and design concepts for the corridor and intersections. We may also discuss alternative routes to Pecore – where no changes to traffic patterns or parking are proposed.

PRESIDENT’S CALL: RESIDENTS TO THE RESCUE by Michael Graves

We need volunteers to help us help the neighborhood!

Okay, the enemy is not assailing our gates but that doesn’t lessen the need. Projects for the benefit of your neighborhood require people. It is my hope the neighborhood will step up and volunteer in sufficient numbers to staff our projects, plan the projects and work to make them a reality. I am making this plea to remind those willing to serve our neighborhood.

There are essentially three levels of volunteerism… Board Positions, Committee Positions and Adjutant to Board Positions.

Our board elections will be held in our next General Association meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. This is your opportunity to contribute on the broadest front. Be part of our planning process and use your skills and talents to chart the courses our projects will take. The Board positions up for election are:

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Director – Infrastructure / Land Use

  • Director – Membership

All of these positions are two-year terms and will commence upon election. If you are interested in any of these positions, please complete the nomination form and send it to nominations@woodland-heights.org. Our Nominations committee can provide a description of the role and answer any questions you might have regarding the position.

As here are much broader range of tasks associated with the committees, a full description of duties involved with each task is beyond the scope of this article. As a summary, committee oversight will be handled by a committee chair who reports to a board member. Other committee members will be responsible for tasks specific to the committee’s overall charge. Such committees head-count will vary, ranging from as few as 3 to 5 all the way up to the low teens. We have two standing committees and several other committees we can only move forward with If the volunteer force is sufficient. Here are some of the committees in place or under consideration.

  • Lights In The Heights® – numerous subcommittees are necessary to ensure the smooth operation, safety and sanity of this landmark event

  • Home Tour – continue the successful coordination and implementation of this popular event

  • Sidewalks – evaluate our neighborhood for those sidewalks most in need of repair, work with the COH to develop a repair strategy and a plan to implementation the strategy

  • Urban Forestry – evaluate our neighborhood for those areas in which trees have suffered, work with local groups to develop replacement strategy and develop a plan to implement that strategy

  • IT / Data Management – Evaluate the needs Association, develop an integrated program to serve accounting, correspondence and data storage needs and develop a strategy to implement the program

  • Block Captains - fulfillment teams for each block are crucial data gathering and information dissemination

Finally, each of the board members can always use help. There are many opportunities for those interested in helping to forward the topics specific to any of the 9 current board members. The Adjutant to the Board Members will work in step with the Board Member to help move projects forward. From coordinating work with the neighborhood to working directly in formulation of projects, the Adjutants will not only be of great assistance, they will also be in a position to better understand the tasks and responsibilities of the various Board positions.

Okay, how do I sign up you may ask? I have attached a link to a form for WHCA volunteers. Click here to download the form in PDF format. You can mark your preference, and return the form to me at president@woodland-heights.org. If you prefer, you can simply make your selection from the form and send me an email noting your selection in the body of the email.

As always, I feel it would be inappropriate to close a call for volunteers without thanking those who have volunteered over the past. You know who you are but I would like to make a special thanks to those folks instrumental in making our Home Show such a success as well as those who work so tirelessly to make Lights In The Heights® a special event as well as a credit to our neighborhood. Certainly, our Board Members who are stepping down, Debbie Hall, Sharon Greiff, Jay Francis and Matt Johnson are worthy of thanks.

Please reach into your time wallet and donate generously to your home neighborhood.

Harry McMahon
President
Woodland Heights Civic Association

Creature Feature: NikKi Prochaska! by Michael Graves

Nikki Prochaska #3.jpg

This month I'm exercising canine editorial privilege to acclaim Ms Niki Prochaska as the Creature Feature! Niki lives at 204 Byrne with Mike & Kamile Prochaska and Family. She just this past weekend reached her 14th birthday, which is a major milestone for a Labrador Retriever. In years past, she'd say hello to Shadow and I. Julio and I still see her regularly when we get down to Byrne Street. She's always ready to greet us and give us a wag.

According to Kamile, "Niki is a wonderful dog! Although she is 14 and weighs 80lbs. Her preference is to be a lap dog. She follows us around the house and lays her body as close to us as possible at all times, and if we do not pay attention to her, she commands attention by barking at us until we do. No one can be hugged in our house without her included. Her body may be slow, but she has the mind of a 2 year old puppy! She loves to play, bark at birds and garbage trucks, and chase cats!"

Niki is an inspiration. I hope I do as well at that age. - Gwen Espinosa-Graves

Your Canine Contributing Editor

Your Canine Contributing Editor

We call this the “Creature Feature” highlighting the fact that we’d welcome pics that are not pets. Birders! I’m talking to you! See an especially great turtle in the park, grab a pic with your phone. Send it along to communications@woodland-heights.org.

Yard-of-the-Month: The Garden At Travis Elementary School by Michael Graves

While there are many lovely flower-filled front beds to choose from in our neighborhood this month, I am overwhelmed with the variety and range on offer in our own elementary school garden! Many of us shuttle along the garden path five mornings a week to see our kids to school, but it's worth taking a few extra moments to absorb the nature there.

The Travis Garden has been under the guidance of neighbor, teacher, grandmother, and Army veteran Christina West for nearly two years, with the help of volunteers, teachers, and students. When I asked her if we could choose the Travis Garden for May Yard of the Month, she was delighted!

Ms. West says every morning she loves riding her bike to Travis Elementary School along the leafy streets past her neighbors' flowering gardens.  The Travis gardens are at the east end of Redan and have a fence covered with muscadine grapes and bordered by fig trees.  Inside, there are 30 beds, one for each class at the school and five others that are filled with wildflowers and small trees.

In the fall, as soon as it is cool enough, students plant vegetables and herbs, and continue planting throughout the winter months.  They plant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, chard, beets, lettuce, arugula, bok choi, cilantro, onions, potatoes, chives, dill, and carrots.  Many are planted from seed and students watch them grow week by week until they can harvest and eat them. Their favorite eating experiences are: kale smoothies, broccoli pasta, blanched broccoli, salads of cabbage, carrot and lettuce, herb butter with chives/rosemary/oregano, mashed potatoes, chard roll-ups with apples and sun butter, and, of course, raw carrots. In spring, each class garden plants a tomato and some peppers, cucumbers, and beans.

Ms. West tells us "Perhaps the students' favorite part of the garden is the pond, that has a small cascade of water and a marshy area with purple lotus flowers and a slightly deeper pool visited by toads each spring that leave hundreds and hundreds of eggs in long strands.  Turtles also visit our pond, as well as many migrating birds, such as American goldfinch, Cedar waxwings, and American robins.

"Around the edges of the Travis garden are "pollinator gardens", sometimes called "insectiaries".  Many of our vegetables depend on pollination, so it is important to invite bees, wasps, and butterflies into our garden.  Students enjoy watching these insects that are so helpful to our community.  Gardens also need compost piles which can manage the waste from gardens and then provide rich soil.  Students love running over to the compost bins and tearing up the spent leaves of our broccoli, kale, and chard.  (Just a reminder: tomato and potato leaves should never go into compost piles)." - Christina West

"A garden is a grand teacher," naturalist Gertrude Jekyll wrote. We are so fortunate to have this rich resource here in our neighborhood, for our kids, birds, beetles, butterflies and more.

Stay tuned for an opportunity to tour the garden with Ms. West and learn more. The Travis Elementary Garden is supported by the school's PTA, grants, donations, and volunteers. If you are interested in helping in some way, please contact beautification@woodland-heights.org and we will put you in touch.

And an honorable mention goes to 923 Teetshorn, nominated by a neighbor for their nice flower beds. Well done!

Pecore Street Houston Bike Plan by Michael Graves

Woodland Heights Neighbors—

As you may know, the City of Houston (COH) is modifying certain major connector streets around our neighborhood to: 1. increase vehicular, bike, and pedestrian safety; 2. increase connectivity; and 3. improve traffic flow.

As a part of the plan, COH has proposed a major update to 11th Street, extending from Timbergrove to the point where 11th meets Pecore at Michaux. The initial COH plan included Pecore too—removing all street parking and adding bike lanes on both sides from Michaux to Houston Avenue. However, COH has put the Pecore section of the plan on hold for now (but is still planning to implement the 11th Street section). We want to explain why.

The initial plan was to for 11th/Pecore to act as a major cross-Heights bike connector from Timbergrove to the Near Northside. Along 11th, bike lanes will be added to both sides, a turn lane in the center, and four lanes of traffic reduced to two. Refuge islands will also be added at major pedestrian/bike crossings, such as Nicholson. COH studies show that this will still accommodate the volume of traffic while increasing safety for pedestrians, bikers, and cars. Initially, the same modification was proposed for Pecore all the way to Houston Avenue, minus the center turn lane and removing all street parking.

After the plan was presented by COH planners at our general meeting on Tuesday, March 19, the WHCA Board heard from a number of neighbors who were concerned about the removal of parking on Pecore (as well as several who supported the plan). On Friday April 19, we sent the following letter to Mayor Turner, several city council members, and the COH planners in charge of the project:

“Dear Mayor Turner,

I am writing on behalf of the Woodland Heights Civic Association Board of Directors. We wanted to commend you for your efforts to make Houston a city which is safer and more friendly to cyclists. Although it is not in our Association footprint, we want to express our personal commendations for your effort to make the intersection at 11th Street and Nicholson Street safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

However, we are expressing our concern regarding the plan to remove all the street parking from Pecore Street. As you likely know, our Association is dominated by historic bungalows which commonly do not have wide driveways and two-car garages. By removing all the street parking from Pecore, the Associations residents living on that street would be put under undue hardship.”

Three hours later, we were notified by COH that they were “tabling the Pecore proposal…due to the many concerns [they] heard.” As an alternative, the east end of the 11th Street bike lanes would connect to a north-south bike route on Michaux, ending at Stude Park and the White Oak bike trail. This segment would not include dedicated bike lanes, but would add improved signage along the route and improve the intersection of Michaux and White Oak.

Subsequently, we heard from COH planners that they tabled the Pecore section not only because of concerns from residents, but because they don’t have an existing safe bike connection on the east side to connect to (presumably where Pecore meets Houston Ave). In the future, COH intends to pursue high-comfort bike lanes on Main Street. They may restart the conversation regarding Pecore at that time.

COH will have another public meeting at 7 pm on May 8 at Hogg Middle School to discuss 11th Street, Pecore, Michaux, and other future plans. We encourage Woodland Heights neighbors to attend.

As always, feel free to contact the WHCA Board if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Matt Johnson
Director of Infrastructure
WHCA Board of Directors

Wanted: A Few Good Neighbors! by Michael Graves

Hi Woodland Heights -

  1. Do you want to get more involved in the issues that face our wonderful neighborhood?

  2. Do you have a strong opinion about the future of the Woodland Heights or the WHCA and its mission?

  3. Do you want to get to know better some of the wonderful and talented people in this great neighborhood?

  4. Do you have talents in accounting, legal, social media, public relations, technology, fundraising or just a love of the history of the neighborhood you'd like to volunteer to our great neighborhood?

If so - then you should think about joining the Woodland Heights Civic Association Board for the 2019 - 2021 term, which starts June 1, 2019 and runs through May 31, 2021.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in a WHCA board position for the two-year term, please send an email to the nominating committee at nominations@woodland-heights.org. All candidates that wish to run for office (including those current board members running for re-election) must return a nomination form into the nomination committee one day prior to the election on March 14th.

Feel free to speak directly with a member of the nomination committee or an existing board member about these positions. The nominating committee members are:

  • Matt Johnson (Board Member)

  • Melissa Sternfels (Board Member)

  • Pat Rutledge (Non-Board Member)

  • Lauren Lindsay (Non-Board Member)

  • Estella Espinosa (Non-Board Member)

All WHCA Board members must be current homeowner members of the WHCA.

———————————————————————

Descriptions of the open board positions are below:

SECRETARY

The WHCA Secretary is tasked with recording all meetings in a timely and organized fashion. The Secretary acts as the official record keeper for the organization.

Duties and responsibilities of the WHCA secretary:

  1. Ensuring meetings are effectively organized and minutes kept in a timely manner

  2. Maintaining effective records and administration

  3. Upholding the legal requirements of governing documents

  4. Communication and correspondence via email and print

  5. Posting minutes online and maintaining a WHCA binder of documents, including minutes, sign-in sheets, records, correspondence, agendas, etc.

  6. Setting up and monitoring membership sign-in at general meetings

  7. Assisting the President and other board members with other duties as needed

  8. Attending board meetings and general meetings

 Technical demands of the position

  1. Time Commitment: The job of secretary requires 6-12 hours per month.

  2. Familiarity with MS Word, MS Excel and Adobe PDF.

  3. Use of Dropbox and other online tools for management and storage of documents.

  4. Participating in communications online via email in a timely manner

 TREASURER

The WHCA Treasurer is tasked with maintaining financial records, including periodic reporting to the WHCA, as well as payment of bills and invoices, maintaining bank accounts and providing support for special events.

Duties and responsibilities of the WHCA Treasurer:

  1. Maintaining financial records including filing of tax information to both State and Federal Entities.

  2. Maintaining bank accounts and pay resources (paypal/stripe)

  3. Payment of bills and Invoices

  4. Assisting with budgeting and providing oversight

  5. Providing support and oversight for special events

  6. Maintain tracking for Sponsorship, Special Events, Sales and programs (membership and constables)

  7. Review and recommend insurance for organization, directors and special events

Technical Demands of the position:

  1. Time Commitment: The job of treasurer requires 10-20 hours per month. This will depend upon beginning of year membership drives and special events

  2. Familiarity with Non-Profit Accounting software, MS Word, MS Excel, Adobe PDF.

  3. Use of Dropbox and other online tools for management and storage of documents.

  4. Participating in communications online via email in a timely manner.)

 DIRECTOR, MEMBERSHIP

 The WHCA Director of Membership is responsible for enrolling new and existing members in the organization, as well as for general promotion of the organization and its aims to the greater Woodland Heights community.

 Duties and responsibilities of the Director of Membership:

  1.  Keep records of new and existing members.

  2. Provide information regarding the WHCA and its mission to new and existing residents of the neighborhood.

  3. Provide input/suggestions to expand/ improve services and add value to membership.

  4. Actively recruit new members and promote and encourage participation in the WHCA

  5. Assess membership needs through instruments such as surveys and questionnaires or other methods suggested by the board, and communicate member needs to the board.

  6. Manage block captains and direct neighborhood outreach efforts. 

  7. Provide welcome packages to new residents in the neighborhood.

  8. Assisting the President and other board members with other duties as needed

  9. Attending board meetings and general meetings

 Technical demands of the position

  1. Time Commitment: The Membership position requires 6-12 hours per month.

  2. Willingness to promote and lobby for WHCA to residents.

  3. Familiarity with MS Word and Adobe PDF.

  4. Use of Dropbox and other online tools for management and storage of documents.

  5. Participating in communications online via email in a timely manner

 DIRECTOR, INFRASTRUCTURE/LAND USE

 The WHCA Director of Infrastructure/Land Use is tasked with assisting the neighborhood with infrastructure-related issues (streetscapes, sidewalks, water systems, lighting.) This position interfaces with the City of Houston Public Works regarding public works, civil engineering issues, traffic and related issues. In addition, this role is responsible for questions or concerns about land use issues related to building codes, zoning, lot size and use, and similar concerns.

 Duties and responsibilities of the Director of Infrastructure/Land Use:

  1.  Interface with City of Houston Public Works regarding civil, public works, streetscape, and related issues.

  2. Maintain or account for the public infrastructures for which the WHCA is responsible (electricity on the esplanades etc.)

  3. Act as a resource for members with land use questions or concerns, whether on private property or public.

  4. Spearhead initiatives toward neighborhood improvement that extend beyond beautification (i.e. planning issues, code issues, etc.)

  5. Assisting the President and other board members with other duties as needed .

  6. Attending board meetings and general meetings

 Technical demands of the position

  1.  Time Commitment: The Infrastructure position requires 6-12 hours per month.

  2. Familiarity with City of Houston communication protocols.

  3. Some familiarity with land use, codes, deed restrictions, and similar issues.

  4. Familiarity with MS Word and Adobe PDF.

  5. Use of Dropbox and other online tools for management and storage of documents.

  6. Participating in communications online via email in a timely manner

Closures on 45 this weekend by Michael Graves

  1. IH 45 North Freeway Northbound Frontage Road between the IH 610 N. Loop and E. Tidwell: Alternate Lane(s) Closed Continuously between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. At least one lane will remain open at all times.

  2. IH 45 North Freeway Northbound Exit Ramp to Crosstimbers: Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. Detour via the IH 45 Northbound Main lanes to the Airline Dr. Exit. Exit Ramp; then follow the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. to the U-Turn at Airline. Follow the U-Turn at Airline to the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. Follow the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. to Crosstimbers St. Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Airline Exit Ramp closure and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

  3. IH 45 North Freeway Northbound Exit Ramp to Airline Dr.: Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. Detour via the IH 45 Northbound Mainlanes to the Tidwell Rd. Exit Ramp; then follow the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. to the U-Turn at E. Tidwell. Follow the U-Turn at E. Tidwell to the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd.. Follow the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. to Airline. Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Crosstimbers Exit Ramp closure and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

  4. IH 45 North Freeway Southbound Frontage Road. between E. Tidwell and the IH 610 N. Loop: Alternate Lane(s) Closed Continuously between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. At least one lane will remain open at all times.

  5. IH 45 North Freeway Southbound Entrance Ramp from Airline: Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. Detour via the IH 45 Southbound frontage road to the Crosstimbers Entrance Ramp. Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Crosstimbers Exit Ramp, the Exit 52A Exit Ramp and the Crosstimbers entrance ramp closures and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

  6. IH 45 North Freeway Southbound Exit Ramp to Crosstimbers: Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. Detour via the IH 45 Southbound Main lanes to the Southbound Frontage Road (Exit 52A) Exit Ramp; follow the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. to the U-Turn. Follow the U-Turn at end of the frontage road to the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. Follow the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. to Crosstimbers. Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Southbound Entrance Ramp from Airline and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

  7. IH 45 North Freeway Southbound Exit Ramp to the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. (Exit 52A): Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. Detour via the IH 45 Southbound Main lanes to the W. Cavalcade Exit Ramp; then follow the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. to the U-Turn at W. Cavalcade. Follow the U-Turn to the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. Follow the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. to the next northbound entrance ramp. Follow the IH 45 Northbound Mainlanes to the E. Crosstimbers Exit. Turn Left, (West) on Crosstimbers and then turn Left, (South) on the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd.

    Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Southbound Exit Ramp to Crosstimbers closure and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

  8. IH 45 North Freeway Southbound Entrance Ramp from Crosstimbers: Total Closure between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and again between 8:00 PM on Friday, 04.12.19 and 5:00 AM on Monday, 04.15.19. . Detour via the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. to the U-Turn at end of frontage road; Follow the U-Turn to the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. Follow the IH 45 Northbound Frontage Rd. to Airline. Follow the U-Turn at Airline to the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd. Follow the IH 45 Southbound Frontage Rd to the entrance ramp from Airline. Please note that this ramp closure will alternate with the Southbound Entrance Ramp from Crosstimbers and that only one ramp will be closed at a time.

WHCA Spring Housekeeping by Michael Graves

Spring has sprung and as is the case in many Association households, the WHCA has many items we are trying to, risking a phrase that trivializes some very important issues, “tidy up”

Board Elections

One of the foremost is the upcoming elections for the open positions on the board of directors. As of this writing we have nominations for only two positions. Should you feel the call to serve the Association and help improve our neighborhood, please contact the Nomination Committee at nominations@woodland-heights.org. The two-year term positions coming open are…

  • Director – Membership

  • Director – Infrastructure/Land Use

  • Treasurer

  • Secretary

If you have questions regarding the responsibilities or duties associated with any of the positions, please do not hesitate to inquire.

Revised WHCA Bylaws

As we announced in our last general meeting, the WHCA Board of Directors had adopted a draft of the revised bylaws. The final version should be complete well before the next general meeting. We will keep you updated on the progress.

Volunteers

In addition to folks wanting to serve on the Board of Directors for the WHCA, we are always looking to add to our volunteer rosters for our standing and ad hoc committees. Lights in the Heights® and the Home Tour committees are always looking for help. In addition, the Board has several projects that can only move forward with Association involvement. Planting trees, fixing sidewalks, beautification projects and other deserved causes will flounder without volunteers. We certainly know how life can eat up time allowing month after month pass before you know it. Before those months slip by, drop an email to one of the board members expressing an interest in one project or another and we will work to put an effective group together to carry the work forward. You may find the email address of each board member at https://www.woodland-heights.org/contact.

Hopefully we will see you at our next meeting. To reiterate, we will elect several new board members. If you do not attend, you cannot vote and if you cannot vote, your voice will lose its best means of expression.

YARD-OF-THE-MONTH: 919 Ridge by Michael Graves

You can’t miss the burst of bluebonnets at 919 Ridge, home to Amy, Chris and Nathan Boyers. Bluebonnets here have been an annual occurrence for many years. Every year, bluebonnets drop seeds to produce plants for the following spring.

In 1938, Lorene and Herbert Smith purchased the new home and raised their two children there. Mrs. Smith always loved gardening and sowed bluebonnet seeds near the crepe myrtles by the street. After Mrs. Smith passed away in 2004, Mrs. Smith's granddaughter, Amy, and Chris bought the house from Amy's father. The Boyers have looked forward to the annual bluebonnets every year since. In 2013, Chris and Amy’s son was born in the midst of a bumper crop year of bluebonnets. Four generations of one family have lived in this house, so it has so many special memories. One memory is being entertained by the families that plop their kids among the flowers for bluebonnet pictures. The Boyers enjoy sharing the happiness from the bluebonnets with neighbors.

The rest of the landscaping, installed and maintained by the family, is a mix of natives and low-water plants. They are also experimenting with citrus trees, which have replaced the crepe myrtles planted years ago. Amy held on to several of Mrs. Smith’s roses, day lilies and Easter lilies, which begin blooming once the wildflowers begin to fade.

While their poppies didn't bloom this year, their seeds have blown across the street, sharing, as neighbors do, and are on full display. And bluebonnet volunteers can be found in other nearby yards.

It's a beautiful legacy that the Smith and Boyers families carry through generations, and our neighborhood is made lovelier for it.

COH Presentation on Heights Area Street Safety Improvements by Michael Graves

The WHCA General Meeting on March 19th included a presentation about plans to change the configuration of 11th Street, Studewood and Pecore. This presentation helped to inspire an impressive turnout (62!) for the meeting, which was held in the library at Travis Elementary School. Since there are no doubt many others who would be interested in the details of this project, we recorded the meeting, to make it available here. The slides used in the presentation are also available in PDF format.

The decision to record this meeting was very last minute. The event was shot with a single camera, mostly focussed on the presenter. The video offered here was edited only to add the slides and whatever B-roll shots I could capture using my phone, once the Q&A was underway. It was not edited for content in any way.

Calling Historic Homes! by Michael Graves

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The 2020 Woodland Heights Home Tour is a year away, and the committee is already gearing up for it. The first order of business is selecting houses for the event, which is March 28-29, 2020.

If you would like your home to be considered for the tour, please send an email to Louise Moss at limoss@comcast.net. The committee plans to visit homes in the May-June timeframe with the goal of finalizing homes by end of summer. This lets us get exterior photos done before winter and gives the homeowner plenty of time to prepare for the tour.

The tour features original homes, including those that have been updated and/or expanded. We are particularly eager to hear from you if you have a small- or mid-size house so we can feature a range of sizes and architectural styles. The tour is a major fundraiser that supports neighborhood activities and showcases Woodland Heights’ unique charm to visitors from across Houston.

Trash Bash 2019 - March 30, 2019 by Michael Graves

The YMCA and Greater Northside Management District are teaming up to support Trash Bash 2019 at Little White Oak Bayou on Saturday, March 30, 2019, from 8 am -12 pm.

Volunteers should register at Raven Tower, 310 North Street, or online in advance at http://www.trashbash.org/sites.html and select Little White Oak Bayou. Cleanup sites include Woodland Park, Moody Park and White Oak Music Hall. All volunteers are required to sign a liability release form. It is recommended that you wear and/or bring the following items: pants, sunscreen, hats, insect repellent, rubber boots, and raingear. No sandals or flip-flops.

All volunteers must register or check in at Raven Tower beginning at 8 AM. Do not go to the cleanup site. You will receive gloves, trash bags, a ticket for lunch, and a ticket for door prizes. At 9 AM volunteers will board shuttles for transport to the cleanup site. Participants will return to Raven Tower at 11 AM for a free lunch, entertainment, door prizes, and fun environmental activities.

Warning: Memberships No Longer Auto-Renew by Michael Graves

In the past, WH residents were able to pay for their WHCA dues or Constable Patrol membership online, in a fashion that automatically renewed each year. This was convenient, since once you signed up initially, you didn’t have to think about it. Everything was processed automatically each year, at least until something went amiss with their Paypal account.

As convenient as that was, it also created some confusion. People would sometimes forget that they had previously setup the automatic renewal. They would make a payment manually via the web site, only to find that they had paid twice. This required that the treasurer take action to reverse the charge.

This happened more often that we would have hoped. Often enough that it was burdensome to the treasurer. So, when it came time to rework how payments were handled via the web site, the option for automatic recurring payment was eliminated.

Those who had such payments setup received messages both from Paypal and directly from the treasurer. As we go into our 2019-20 year, everyone must renew their WHCA membership and subscribe anew to the Constable Patrol Program.

Fundraising walk set for April 27, 2019 by Michael Graves

In Stude Park: benefits Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

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The Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance has announced that its “Step Forward for the Cure” walk, a fundraising event, will take place in Stude Park on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. outside the Community Center at 1031 Stude. The walk will start at 9:30.

The event supports raising awareness and funds for tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) research, education and other services.

Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic disorder that causes non-cancerous tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. TSC is also the leading known genetic cause of both epilepsy and autism.

For more information, including how to form a team for the walk, visit http://giving.tsalliance.org.

Cigna Sunday Streets by Michael Graves

Cigna Sunday Streets Houston is an initiative to promote and improve the health of Houstonians. Cigna Sunday Streets Houston opens a stretch of streets normally reserved for cars and other vehicles to allow cycling, walking, dancing, socializing and provides a family-friendly opportunity to be physically active. Come out and enjoy Houston! Be sure to tag us in your pictures and videos #SSHTX!!!.

Date: March 24, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Location: West 19th Street between North Shepherd Dr. & Yale St.

Thank you to Cigna for their support and promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

Pseudo Creature Feature: Dinosaur Spotting in WH by Michael Graves

T-Rex and friends on a field of volcanic ash.

There are folks here in Woodland Heights who, for whatever reason, just don’t live their lives online. the internet is simply not an important thing in their lives. Nonetheless, they are important to us as neighbors. That’s why we continue to print newsletters a few times a year, when it’s important to get critical information widely distributed. It’s also why we use things like door hangers, just recently distributed, to promote the Constable Patrol Program. A hat tip to the Home Tour committee for pointing out that strategy.

The door hangers present a certain problem as well. When we take delivery they have been die cut to hang on the door, but there’s a paper circle that has to be popped out of every one. Since we print 2000 copies that’s 2000 little paper circles that might very possibly litter up the neighborhood.

However, block captain coordinator Andrea Gorney doesn’t let that happen. She broke down the box, counting out how many are needed for each block. In the process she popped out all those dastardly circles! They would not have a chance to litter the ‘hood.

Further, her kids took to playing with them. According to Andrea, “At the time they claimed it was make believe volcanic ash. I’ve since recycled said “ash”. It’s a valid concern - much better my living room than our neighborhood streets.”