IMPORTANT: WHCA Election Nominating Committee is Forming by Michael Graves

Hello Woodland Heights neighbors -

We need to find three WHCA members to serve on the nominating committee for the upcoming WHCA elections in March. If you would like to volunteer, please email me at president@woodland-heights.org. The task is simple - tell people about the upcoming election in March, understand and take nominations for WHCA Board positions, and monitor the March the voting on March 20 at the Annual General Meeting of the WCHA. There are five members; two from the WHCA Board (Tyson Greer and Carla Reed), and three non-Board members (these are the ones we are looking for).

Only requirement is that you are a paid Homeowner member (owner of a residence within the association boundaries) of the WHCA. The Nominating Committee will be finalized by January 31, 2018 and nominations for the 2018-2019 WHCA Board will be open starting February 1st, 2018.

Want to learn more about the board and its officers - please take a look at the WHCA Bylaws on our website https://www.woodland-heights.org/bylaws/.

Thanks,
Tyson Greer
President WHCA

WHCA January General Meeting Cancelled! by Michael Graves

This most recent bout of cold, freezy weather has resulted in HISD closing all their facilities today. As a consequence, we are forced to cancel the WHCA January General Meeting that had been planned for this evening at Hogg Middle School.

The next General Meeting will be Tuesday, March 20th. That will be the Annual General meeting, which includes the election of a new board of directors for 2018-19.

Be on the lookout for announcements about the Nominating Committee that will shortly be formed to seek candidates for the board. Also, for news about the WHCA Home Tour, which is coming up in March.

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Most beautiful outdoor site for hiking, biking and contemplation? Gorgeous (and close by) Glenwood Cemetery by Michael Graves

Only a few feet from the intersection of Washington Avenue and Sawyer is Glenwood Cemetery, 84 acres of history, serenity, and beauty (natural as well as man-made).

Since it was established in 1871, Glenwood Cemetery has been recognized as one of Houston’s special landmarks. Enclosed within Glenwood’s confines is a priceless collection of Victorian statuary that is available for all to enjoy. Glenwood’s horticultural specimens rival those of many arboretums, and its gently rolling landscape, unique in Houston, provides a place for quiet refuge and peaceful meditation amid inspiring natural beauty.

Designed in the tradition of other romantic rural cemetery parks of the 19th century, Glenwood’s beautiful landscape and towering trees provide the visitor a place of quiet respite just one mile west of downtown Houston. Glenwood’s collection of statuary and monuments are reminders of Houston’s history and the people who shaped it. Among those buried at Glenwood are the last President of the Republic of Texas, four Governors, and more than 20 Houston Mayors, along with founders of major oil companies, religious and professional leaders, and celebrities of their eras such as Howard Hughes and movie star Gene Tierney (known in later life as Gene Tierney Lee).

Countless gravestones in Glenwood Cemetery, tell stories in a few words (lacking details that you know are painful. This gravestone memorializes the short lives of little brothers, laid to rest in the same grave. The little boys died together in a fire. Later that same year (1877) in December, the family lost a baby girl who died at eight months of age.

The cemetery gates are open every day from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. When Daylight Saving Time is in effect, the gate closing is extended to sunset or 5:30 p.m., whichever is earlier. The cemetery is protected by security guards, and no visitors are permitted when the gates are closed.

- Rosie Walker

Winter Weather Potential for Start of 2018 by Michael Graves

What is the danger?

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a strong cold front will cross the region on New Year’s Eve (Sunday). There is a low probability that this system will bring light rain, and moisture on the ground and roads may freeze. Temperature lows Tuesday and Wednesday morning could fall into the lower 20's and may result in a hard freeze.

  • Overnight temperatures are expected to fall near to or below freezing by Monday morning and fall below freezing each night through Friday morning.
  • Colder temperatures may impact individuals displaced or affected from Harvey that are utilizing temporary or makeshift housing.
  • The Harris County Toll Road Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation are pre-treating roadways as a precaution.

What you should do:

Remember the 4 P’s for preparing your home for Winter Weather:

  1. PEOPLE: Keep your family warm and check on any elderly family or neighbors that may need extra blankets, winterizing their homes or a warm place to stay.
  2. PETS: Dogs and cats get cold too. Bring them inside at night to keep them healthy and safe.
  3. PLANTS: Either cover plants to keep them warm at night or bring them inside so they can flourish.
  4. PIPES: Cover exposed pipes to prevent freezing and breaks.

Stay safe on the roads

DRIVE SAFELY: Check roads before heading out. If icy conditions are present, drive slower and give yourself extra stopping distance. Take extra caution on bridges and overpasses as they will ice quickly.

PREPARE YOU CAR: Have a car safety kit and consider having a blanket and extra phone charger in case you are stranded.

Don’t forget…

SPACE HEATER SAFETY: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heating sources away from drapes and furniture.

POWER OUTAGE: Have a flashlight, extra batteries, portable cell phone charger, warm clothes, blankets and a weather radio in case power goes out. If it gets too cold, go to a public place like the mall or a library to heat up.

STAY INFORMED: Check weather reports and local media for the latest conditions. Where you can learn more:

Yard/Tree Waste Collection Resumes January 2, 2018 by Michael Graves

In coordination with its Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program, the Solid Waste Management Department will restart its Yard/Tree Waste Collection and Recycling Program on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. 

Yard/Tree Waste will be collected on residents’ normal garbage collection day. Customers are reminded that yard waste should be properly placed at the curb in city approved recycling bags, or if tree/branch trimmings, they should be bundled and/or tied in lengths not greater than 36 inches. Material not properly prepared for ease of collection will be tagged and left at the curb for the customer’s proper preparation. 

For further instructions on how to prepare yard waste for ease of collection, visit the Solid Waste Management website at www.houstonsolidwaste.org  

What is Tree Waste?

“Clean” wood waste such as tree limbs, branches, and stumps. Lumber, furniture, and treated wood will NOT be accepted. 

What is Yard Trimmings?

Yard Trimmings, grass clippings, small branches and leaves. They must be in city-approved compostable bags. 

For more information about SWMD and its services, visit  at www.houstonsolidwaste.org, “LIKE” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwaste, follow us on Twitter @HoustonTrash, or call 3-1-1, the City of Houston’s Customer Service Helpline. 

About the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department

The Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) provides solid waste services to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective.

Property taxes for Woodland Heights homeowners (in general and in a nutshell) by Michael Graves

In recent weeks there has been considerable online chatter resulting from the new federal tax plan. In particular, some neighbors have inquired about the idea of "prepaying" for property taxes for 2018. The following research summary was submitted by Rosie Walker, who is a former writer and communications manager at the Harris County Tax Office.


Property taxes in Texas are paid in arrears, not in advance. January 31, 2018, is the due date for 2017 property taxes.

Below is a summary of the process taken from websites of the State Comptroller and the Harris County Tax Office.

  1. A large part of the job of the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) is to estimate what your property is worth on January 1 each year. January first each year is referred to as the “snapshot date.” What a property is used for on January 1, market conditions on that date and who owns the property on that date determine whether the property is taxed, its value and who is responsible for paying the taxes.
  2. Around May 15 every year, HCAD is supposed to begin hearing protests from property owners who believe their property values are incorrect. (Notifications are mailed to owner addresses on file with HCAD. Verify or update your address at hcad.org.)
  3. Upon completion of this work (protest hearings), HCAD is charged with providing each taxing jurisdiction (City of Houston, HISD, HCC, Port of Houston, Flood Control District, etc.) a list of taxable property within its boundaries. The Harris County Tax Office collects for most of the jurisdictions that tax property in Woodland Heights. You may verify your tax bill online at hctax.net/Property/TaxStatement.
  4. In August or September, the elected officials of each taxing unit should adopt tax rates for their operations and debt payments (i.e., budgetary items). Only then will we be able to know the exact dollar amount of property taxes we owe.
  5. Tax collection for 2018 property taxes will begin in the fourth quarter of 2018, with due date for 2018 property tax being January 31, 2019.

Lights in the Heights 2017 Winning Homes Gallery by Michael Graves

Neighbors have once again stepped up, decorating in preparation for Lights in the Heights. As a result, Woodland Heights has once again appeared on numerous lists of best places to see holiday lights in Houston.

The gallery below contains images from all of the winning homes. Judging occurred the evening of Thursday, December 7th, under the direction of Head Judge Robyn Klepper.

Clicking on the large image cycles to the next, or navigate using the strip of images below.

Yard of the month: 404 Bayland by Michael Graves


Craig and Katherine Vollmers, residents of Woodland Heights for over 18 years, get yard of the month for their corner lot at 404 Bayland. Although it is one of the few lots on lower Bayland with only one mature oak tree, it is rimmed with crepe myrtles. It has several lovely wisteria vines, Aztec grass, liriope, and azaleas for year round interest and color. There is also a beautiful mature sycamore tree in full fall color thanks to that dusting of snow the Woodland Heights received on December 8th.
 

How to prevent typhus, which is on the rise in Houston area by Michael Graves

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Woodland Heights and surrounding neighborhoods are home to numerous animal species: both family pets and wild critters. The Texas Department of Health Services (TDHS) issued a health alert Nov. 30, 2017, dealing with the connection between animals and people. This alert is relative to increased incidents of flea-borne typhus in the Dallas and Houston areas.

Here is advice from the experts:

  • Don’t  leave pet food out at night
  • Use flea-control products as advised by your veterinarian
  • When handling sick or dead animals, wear gloves

Flea-borne typhus is rarely fatal; however, it can be lethal. “Since 2003, eight deaths have been attributed to flea-borne typhus infection in Texas. When left untreated, severe illness can cause damage to one or more organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. ... Prompt antibiotic treatment is recommended; treatment should not be delayed pending diagnostic tests,” warns TDHS.

Typhus is easily treated in the early stages. People of all ages can be infected, but over 25 percent of cases occur among those between the ages 6 and 15.

For more information (it’s very clinical), visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/releases/2017/HealthAlert-11302017.aspx

 

Lights-in-the-Heights Winning Houses by Michael Graves

The following are the judges results. Pictures to follow.

BEST SINGLE COLOR
419 EUCLID

MOST COLORFUL
808 BAYLAND

HO-H0-HO
620 BAYLAND

MOST FESTIVE
405 WOODLAND

MOST CREATIVE
3216 BEAUCHAMP

MOST RELIGIOUS
1108 7th ST

MOST TRADITIONAL
804 EUCLID

MOST WATTAGE
1020 7th ST

BEST THEME
402 BYRNE

PICK OF THE NIGHT
903 HIGHLAND

BEST PORCH
308 WOODLAND

PEACE,LOVE,LIGHTS
927 MERRIL

MOST LUMINOUS
412 EUCLID

#HOUSTONSTRONG
803 OMAR

MOST HOMETOWN NEAR DOWNTOWN
719 RIDGE

JURASSIC LIGHTS
PENNEBAKER ESPLANADE

MOST NOSTALGIC
1105 BAYLAND

BEST NOD TO TEXAN TRADITION
1016 BAYLAND

MOST YEE-HAW
1127 BAYLAND

Coming Soon: Lights in the Heights T-Shirts! by Michael Graves

The recent newsletter hinted at the possible return of LITH T-Shirts. We're happy to report that they are being made!

The LITH merchandise, including the T-Shirts, will be available for sale at LITH events this week. They're also available at "It's a Houston Thing" a pop-up store located at Christian's Tailgate on White Oak Drive starting on Thursday, December 7th.

LITH 2017 Ornaments Sold Out! by Michael Graves

As of December 2nd the limited edition Lights-in-the-Heights cloisonné Christmas ornaments are completely sold out! Only 75 were produced.

Delivery of the ornaments is expected about a week before Christmas. Once the goods have arrived, Jan Rynda Greer, LITH Committee Chair, will provide pickup details to everyone who purchased an ornament.

Community Meeting for Neighborhood Entrance Improvement Project by Michael Graves

Plans have been in the works for several years to make the southeast entrance to the Woodland Heights neighborhood (Houston Ave, White Oak Dr., Quitman) more attractive and to make the connection between the White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail to Woodland Park safer for pedestrians and cyclists. We are proud to say that the proposed project has received city (specifically the Dept. of Public Works) approval, and a public community meeting will be held to present the design early next month.

In partnership with the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ-5, Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD), Houston Parks Board (HPB) the Woodland Heights Civic Association (WHCA ), and the Greater Northside Management District (GNMD); the Friends of Woodland Park (FWP) are sponsoring a community meeting for a presentation and discussion of the preliminary design plan. This project is part of the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ 5 Capital Improvement Plan.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 4, 2017 at the Woodland Park Community Center at 7:00 PM:  212 Parkview St. one block north of the Houston Avenue and White Oak Dr. intersection.

Won’t you join us to learn about this exciting and significant improvement for the neighborhood?

WHCA November General Meeting by Michael Graves

Want to know what's going on around Woodland Heights? The November General Meeting will be Tuesday, Nov 14th at 7pm in the cafeteria at Hogg Middle School at 1100 Merill.

The major focus of the meeting will be a presentation by Steph McDougal and David Jordan, previewing the City of Houston project to develop historic district guidelines for Woodland Heights. Note that this project is separate and distinct from the prior effort, which focused on Houston Heights.

Steph McDougal from COH will outline the process, which is just getting underway. David Jordan, a WH resident, has been tracking the Historic District Guidelines Project on behalf of WHCA. Together, they will provide valuable insight about the significance of the Design Guidelines, and your ability to have input into their creation.

Only a portion of Woodland Heights is within the designated Historic District. Need to know if your home is included? See the city Historic preservation web site.

The agenda also includes updates from each of the WHCA board members. 

The general meetings are your opportunity to hear what's happening, and have your voice heard. We look forward to seeing you there!

Flood Control District unveils options that would replace concrete lining of White Oak Bayou by Michael Graves

A recently completed study funded by the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (aka City of Houston TIRZ 5) presents options for the natural restoration of Lower White Oak Bayou. These options are alternatives to the present concrete lining. The area studied (“project area”) is defined on the map as the area along White Oak Bayou between Taylor/Watson and Hogan.

The restoration project would require between $30 million to $60 million, and could require many years to complete.

In its press release describing the report, the Flood Control District states:

“All options resulting from the study include removal of the partial concrete lining in this reach of White Oak Bayou. The study evaluated alternatives based on their potential for reducing flood risks, as well as their benefits for the environment, recreation and economic uplift. The cost and potential timeline for each alternative also were evaluated. (Alternatives that would increase flood risks were not considered.)”

Next steps for any longer-term project stemming from the study would include identifying stakeholders to participate in, and to fund, a future restoration project.

For more information, visit http://hcfcd.org/press-room/current-news/2017/10/study-compares-options-for-lower-white-oak-bayou-channel-restoration.