Communications

The WHCA newsletter for November 2018 is here! by Michael Graves

The WHCA newsletter for November 2018 has been printed and is now finding its way to your door. Our cadre of volunteer block captains are busy distributing this last printed edition of the year, which includes everything you need to know about Lights in the Heights.

Want to get a little ahead of thing ni planning for the big weekend? You can download a PDF copy right now.

Mayor's Town Hall Meetings On Upcoming City Referendum Elections by Michael Graves

Come get the facts and ask your questions at Mayor Sylvester Turner's town hall meetings about the Rebuild Houston and Fire Union salary referendum elections on the November 6, 2018 ballot.

If you missed the District H meeting on 9/10, you can find dates for upcoming town hall meetings here. The next meetings in the series are:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 3 – District D – Sunnyside Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 9314 Cullen, 77051

  • Thursday, Oct. 4 – District I – EB Cape Center, 4501 Leeland, 77023

  • Monday, Oct. 8 – District F – Alief Community Center, 11903 Bellaire Blvd., 77072

A one-page fact sheet on the vote can be found on the District H website, along with a link to the Mayor's Town Hall PowerPoint presentation.

WHCA August Newsletter Is Almost At Your Doorstep by Michael Graves

As we pass the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey with a blissfully quiet week in WH, I'm pleased to announce that the next printed WHCA newsletter is on its way. Our squadron of volunteer block captains, under the direction of Andrea Gorney, begins distribution today.

This issue highlights various facets of the planning for the 31st annual Lights in the Heights and related events. This year LITH events start in September, with a LITH Neighborhood Forum at the WHCA General Meeting on Sept 11th.

Beyond LITH, this issue also includes an article about Bike Share Houston and Jay Francis' take on the chile con queso recipe from Felix Mexican Restaurant on Westheimer.

While the printed version will be at your door shortly, you can download an electronic version right now by clicking on the image above.
 

WHCA September General Meeting & LITH Neighborhood Forum by Michael Graves

The Woodland Heights Civic Association has bi-monthly General Meetings. The upcoming meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 7:00 PM in the Hogg Middle School cafeteria.

This meeting will have the added dimension of offering a Neighborhood Forum to discuss the plans for the 31st annual Lights in the Heights festival. The upcoming Meeting and Forum, like most of our General Meetings, is open to all who wish to attend, whether or not they are Members of the Association.

The Association’s Board of Directors and related committee members will be on hand to entertain all discussion points as they pertain to the LITH festival. The goal is to provide a platform for all those wishing to express comments or concerns about the LITH events as outlined in this newsletter.

We understand in such a diverse neighborhood as ours, perceptions and expectations can vary, but it is our hope this forum will foster a constructive dialogue amongst neighbors. The Board will listen to those varied opinions, learn from our neighbors and, if appropriate, act on comments or criticisms from the stakeholders in the neighborhood.

Of course, the LITH Neighborhood Forum will be part of our regularly scheduled General Meeting and subject to the Association Bylaws. If you are curious about those Bylaws, they are all on the Association website at https://www.woodland-heights.org/bylaws/.

To be heard you must attend. Please plan to attend.

Harry McMahon, President
Woodland Heights Civic Association

More NTMP Poll Results by Michael Graves

 

On July 26th the NTC members received the following update on the NTMP project:

Dear NTC members,

As previously indicated, we sent out a survey to the 52 residents and subsequently received 26 responses back. 23 of the 52 support the current plan and 3 do not.  Based on the updated results, the test cushions will remain and we’ll move forward with the final Council approval and close out the project. Thank you for your patience and input throughout the project.

Thank you,

Khang Nguyen, P.E., PTOE | Assistant Director
City of Houston | Houston Public Works | Transportation & Drainage Operations

Introducing WHCA Lemonade Stand Alerts! by Michael Graves

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While summer is not officially upon us, school is out and the kids are looking for things to do. It's warm enough that we've already encountered a couple of lemonade stands. I confess that I'm drawn to a lemonade stand like a moth-to-a-flame. I'm always happy to part with a few dollars in return for lemony refreshment, and the hope that I've helped some young entrepreneur in-the-making. 

The trouble is that it's not easy to know when a new lemonade stand pops-up. They can be unpredictable. They can turn-up, run a while, then disappear quickly. Many folks don't even know that they were there. I'd like to help in this regard.

If you're planning a lemonade stand, let us know. Send an email to communications@woodland-heights.org with the time and location. We'll quickly post it to the various WHCA channels, including our Facebook page, mailing list and Twitter account.

Hopefully we can drive traffic to all the neighborhood lemonade stands. That way the kids have a great time, and see good return on their effort.

As for the rest of you...be watching those channels for your opportunity to help our bright, young business folks get a good start. Think of it as a kind of citrus-powered Y-Combinator.

- Michael Graves
WHCA VP-Communications

The WHCA Block Captain Program Needs Volunteers by Michael Graves

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It's been said that golf is "a good walk ruined." Wouldn't it be nice to turn that on it's head? Do some good by the simple act of taking a walk around our wonderful Woodland Heights Here's your chance! The WHCA Block Captain program is seeking volunteers to assist in the distribution of printed materials throughout the neighborhood. 

While typically this involves our printed newsletters, this week we're seeking help to distribute a one-page flyer about the Constable Patrol program. We expect this one-page document to be printed by Friday and likely available for pick-up and distribution over the weekend. Volunteers will be notified via email when the flyer is available for pick-up. If you are able to help distribute to the neighborhood, please sign up for your preferred blocks at the link below.

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4ea4af22a5ff2-constable

If you have any questions, or would like to be included on the Block Captains email list for future distribution efforts, please contact Andrea at blockcaptains@woodland-heights.org

 

Fins, Feathers & Fur: Wild life In WH by Michael Graves

Animals are everywhere in Woodland Heights! Some are local wildlife, while others are pets of various sorts. Each has a story. Did you know that we have a hoard of colorful wild Parakeets that live hereabouts?

Even as Hurricane Harvey was battering Houston the hummingbirds found our feeder. Shot on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 using a Canon 70D.

I'd like to start a regular newsletter item called "Fins, Feathers & Fur" that tells a brief tale of one critter each month. It could be that time you encountered a great hawk in Stude Park, the fish you caught in the bayou, or the charming way your dog greets all the neighbors while out walking. Could be fact or fictional. Needs a photo. If you're felling ambitious...video!

If you have anything to submit for consideration please send it to communications@woodland-heights.org.

WHCA February Newsletter En Route To Your Doorstep by Michael Graves

Hello again - the latest WHCA newsletter is currently being distributed by our block captains. Normally, our February newsletter would be in email form, but this year is a little different. The return of the biannual Home Tour on the weekend of March 23-25 prompted a decision to print this edition, which is chock full of details about eight fabulous homes on this year's home tour, and how you can get to see them.

This issue also includes an article by Matt Johnson about the status of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. As WHCA VP of Infrastructure, Matt has been  the WHCA's liaison to the Public Works Department, who are responsible for the traffic calming program.

While the printed version will be at your door shortly, you can download an electronic version right now by clicking on the image to the right.

This weary editor would like to thank everyone who contributed to this issue. 

2018-2019 WHCA Board Candidates Needed - Get Involved! 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 2018 - 2019 term, which starts April 1, 2018 and runs through March 31, 2019.

At present - we only have one candidate per position and would love to have multiple candidates per position to allow the WHCA membership to cast their votes accordingly at the Annual General Meeting on March 20th. I have attached a short description of the roles.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in a WHCA board position for the March 2018 to March 2019 term then 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 20th.

Download the form here.  

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:

  • Tyson Greer (Board Member)
  • Carla Reed (Board Member)
  • Marian Wright (Non-Board Member)
  • Kelly Hare (Non-Board Member)
  • Roy Johnston (Non-Board Member)

All WHCA Board members must be current homeowner members of the WHCA, and the VP of Deed Restrictions must be a licensed attorney.

Nominations Committee Seeking Candidates for the WHCA Board by Michael Graves

The WHCA Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations for seats on the Woodland Heights Civic Association Board for the 2018 - 2019 term, which starts April 1, 2018 and runs through March 31, 2019. The following Woodland Heights neighbors have agreed to be on the nominating committee:

  • Tyson Greer (Board Member)
  • Carla Reed (Board Member)
  • Marian Wright (Non-Board Member)
  • Kelly Hare (Non-Board Member)
  • Roy Johnston (Non-Board Member)

If you are interested in a WHCA board position for the April 2018 to March 2019 term then please send an email to the nominating committee (nominations@woodland-heights.org) with the completed nomination form.  

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

Heights-Norhill Little League Spring Registration Runs Until Feb. 12 by Michael Graves

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Registration for the Spring 2018 the youth baseball league for the neighborhood is open until Feb. 12, 2018. Cost for registration is $75.00 per player, with a discount for siblings residing in the same household. Late registration fee is $100.00.

To determine the proper division for your child, a chart is available online at heightsnorhill.com. Mandatory skills assessments will take place on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17. Registration forms and details regarding league regulations are also available at heightsnorhill.com, as information on how to be a volunteer.

For more information, please contact the League as follows:

Heights-Norhill Little League
PO Box 70712, Houston, Texas 77270
Email heights.norhill@gmail.com

Heights-Norhill Little League is operated by adult volunteers. Games take place at Stude Park.

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

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.

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.

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 usps.com. 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.

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.

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 (rosiethewriter@gmail.com
Pat Rutledge (pat@flagstonemortgage.com
Carla Reed (mrscarlareed@yahoo.com
Brad Snead (snead@wrightclose.com
Matt Hartzell (maymat@aol.com

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

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

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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.