WH Creature Feature #1: Duke by Michael Graves

From the Editor: You may recall (or perhaps not) that some months ago I floated the idea of a Pet-of-the-Month. After all, there are quite likely as many pets in WH as there are people. And they are often full-fledged members of the family. It took until this week for someone to offer up their pet for this first installment.

I call it the “Creature Feature.” Beyond merely being seasonally appropriate, this highlights the fact that I’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.

Duke: A Labrador / Great Dane Mix.

We rescued Duke as a puppy around Christmas time last year. He loves to go to the dog park and play with dogs of all sizes even though he's usually the largest. When he's not playing at the park, you can find him lounging on the front porch or taking up an entire couch. Even though he's over 100 lbs, he still our big ol' lap dog!

- Stephanie Morales

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.

Yard Of The Month: 134 E 7th Street by Michael Graves

This Yard of the Month is special because, by the time you read this, the very thing that makes this yard so extraordinary may be gone. It's also special because to really appreciate this yard you will look up, and take your time in the shade to appreciate the century oak's quiet life, and now its death. The limbs reach far toward its nearly-as-old home, which it has guarded until now, and to me they look like wind, if you could see wind. To Telia Weisman, the tree wraps itself in a hug. Across the street, the mighty oaks reach out everywhere, locking arms in solidarity with their neighbors.

Telia and her husband, Mark Guzman, have tended to the tree for three years, but now after consultation with arborists, it's determined that the tree is dying inside, causing a danger to those around them as it drops its limbs. The City has marked it for removal as they search for some way to save it. Arborists have now warned that neighbors should take caution around it, and yellow tape moves admirers away.

As sad as this is for Telia and Mark, I think many in our community will miss its awesomeness, even if we did occasionally bump into its great limb that swoops over the sidewalk. Maybe as we dodged that limb we looked up and took it all in. It was there when soldiers returned from wars abroad, when all kids walked or rode their bikes to school, before freeways buzzed, and when everything was quieter and cooler. Time stands still on this corner. I hope others will have time to walk around Norhill and E 7th and enjoy the peace of the oaks all around here, find some acorns, and plant a tree. They can't be taken for granted in the Woodland Heights.

- Stephanie Riceman, VP-Beautification

Care and therapy for stressed trees by Michael Graves

Trees have been having it tough in recent months, arborist Matthew Petty told a Houston Chronicle writer. “We’ve had odd weather patterns, with Harvey, hard freezes last winter and long, hot dry spells this summer.”

In a story appearing Sept. 6, 2018, Molly Glentzer, staff writer, said some arborists have coined a term for trees that appear to be alive but, in fact, are standing on dead roots. The term is “zombie trees.” Trees, you see, can take years to die.

On the positive side, care and intervention can sustain or occasionally revive trees that have endured stressful conditions.

Here are tips for prolonging tree life:

  • Periodic pruning

  • Regular fertilizing

  • Show, deep watering during dry spells

  • Checkup by a certified arborist

The drought of 2011 killed almost half the trees in Memorial Park. Yet, hope remains for some of the survivors of the drought, specifically post oaks. The Memorial Park Conservancy is hoping to revive some of the post oaks in the park through a regimen of aerating their root systems and injecting them with biological material made from the compost of fallen trees.

- Rosie Walker, Writer and long-time WH Resident

Woodland Park 3rd Annual Scout Clean Up Day by Michael Graves


Sunday, November 4th 2-4 PM
212 Parkview St, Houston 77009

Join us as we help to clean up a local treasure. All Scouts, friends, family and neighbors are welcome.

To register your group, please email Lauren Lindsay: mail and complete the online waiver on the FWP website: https://www.friendsofwoodlandpark.org/ All materials provided and fun patches available for purchase. We hope to see you there!

Jay’s Sugar Cookies by Michael Graves


Jay Francis, on the Board, representing Membership offers the following easy and delicious Sugar Cookie recipe this month:

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

Total Time: 38 minutes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (make sure that the butter has softened at room temperature)

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 egg

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups all purpose flour


  1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes.

  3. Beat in the extracts and egg.

  4. In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt  with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.

  5. There isn’t a need to chill the dough. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).

  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Lights in the Heights Merchandise Now For Sale! by Michael Graves

The 2018 edition LITH cloisonné ornament is in production. This year's festive logo was designed by Jacob Gonzales, a student in Hogg Middle School's graphic design program. We've added a second cloisonné ornament this year with the highly recognizable trademarked LITH bulb logo. The illustrations don't quite do these beauties justice. These custom ornaments are handcrafted with 24k gold plated wire outlining the vivid colors of the design. Each ornament comes in a silk covered gift box - perfect for giving and safekeeping.

5b-LITH 2018 Ornament copy.png

We also have Holiday Bash tickets, LITH embroidered aprons, printed tea towels, private party signs, and the 30th Anniversary t-shirts available for sale on the website.

Pre-order any of these items and they will be ready for you to pick up at Friday Night Lights on the Norhill Esplanade on December 7. Additional merchandise not sold on our website will be available at FNL including koozies, lighted wands for the kids, and LITH printed cocktail napkins (perfect for your LITH party!)


Healthy East End Week Sept 17-22 by Michael Graves

Please Join Representative Carol Alvarado for Healthy East End Week September 17 - 22nd. Events include: 

Monday, September 17th
Shoot For Your Goals! Kid's Soccer 6:30pm-8:00pm
Eastwood Park, 5000 Harrisburg Blvd

Tuesday, September 18th
Rock And Stomp! Line Dancing 11:30am-12:00pm
Settegast Park, 3000 Garrow St.

Wednesday, September 19th
Shake It 'Till You Make It! Zumba Class 6:00pm-7:00pm
Mason Park, 541 S. 75th St.

Thursday, September 20th
Just Beat It! Aztec Dance 6:00pm-7:00pm
Ingrando Park, 7302 Keller St.

Saturday, September 22th
Mason Park Bridge Grand Opening
Includes a free 5K run at 8:00am
‘Picnic in the Park’ from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm!
 Live music by Nick Gaitan and Tejas Got Soul Sound System!
Soccer clinic led by the Houston Dynamo.
541 South 75th St

For More Information - 713.649.6563

13th Annual Houston Heights Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt by Michael Graves


Grab your bike, helmet, family and friends and get ready to ride! For the 13th year, the Houston Heights Association will host the annual Houston Heights Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt starting and ending at Marmion Park located at 1802 Heights Boulevard. 

Designed as a casual, self-paced ride, the rally is open to riders of all ages. Cyclists may choose between a 20-mile course through the Heights and surrounding neighborhoods, a shorter 5-mile ride designed for children and their adult companions, or the new Stroller and Bike parade — or participate in all three! 

After completing the rides, participants can celebrate at the Post Ride Party with entertainment, door prizes, and refreshments.

The registration fee for the 20-mile ride is $25 through October 4 when online registration will close and $30 for day-of-event registration on October 7. The 5-mile ride is $15 through October 4 and $20 on event day. Online registration is now open at https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Houston/13thHoustonHeightsBicycleRallyScavengerHunt. 

See www.houstonheights.org/event/bicycle-rally-scavenger-hunt/ for more information. 

The HHA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, and proceeds from the Bicycle Rally go directly into the Houston Heights community for beautification, restoration, maintenance and education.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with the Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt, please contact co-chairs Sharon Dearman and Carol Welter at bicyclerally@houstonheights.org

Replay: The Mayor's Town Hall Meeting by Michael Graves

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a Town Hall meeting on Monday, September 10th at The Moody Park community Center. This meeting targeting District H was the second in a series of town hall meetings to address the two propositions on the ballot for the November 6th election.

Speakers included CM Karla Cisneros, Mayor Turner, Director of Finance Tantri Emo, Fire Chief Samuel Peña, Police Chief Art Acevedo and Carol Haddock, Director of Public Works.

The presentations began with Proposition B, which is a ballot initiative by the firefighters union who are seeking to force wage parity with Houston Police officers.

Discussion of Proposition A, with respect to management of the Rebuild Houston funding, followed later in the meeting.

HTV live-streamed the meeting. This means that you can watch recorded playback of the event right here.

Get The Facts On The Upcoming City Referendum Elections by Michael Graves

Mayor Sylvester Turner is hosting a series of town hall meetings to discuss the two city ballot items that will appear on the November ballot. Come learn about the Rebuild Houston and the Houston Fire Union referendum elections on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Details on District H's public meeting are below. For more info click here.

When: Monday, September 10th, 6:30-7:45 pm
Where: Moody Park, 3725 Fulton

Lights in the Heights 2018 Proposed Route by Michael Graves

This year the LITH committee, with feedback from residents of Woodland Heights, have selected Byrne and Euclid streets as the official route for the event, with the “anchor” being the Norhill Esplanade. It’s been close to 10 years since these streets have participated and we know that everyone will be excited to see the displays, hear the performers and enjoy the holiday cheer.

LITH 2018 Proposed Route Map (Full Size).jpg

A larger, print-ready version of the route map is available for download here.

As plans are finalized with the city, further details about the route will be published in coming issues of the WHCA newsletter.

Questions, concerns or suggestions can be sent by email to lightsintheheights@gmail.com, or by mail to Lights in the Heights, P.O. Box 7754, Houston TX 77270. Please include
your name and contact information.

Lighten Your Load: Lighter in the Heights Community Yard Sale by Michael Graves

Lighter in the Heights Square Graphic.jpg

Do you need to clean out your closet, cabinet or storage shed? We want that stuff for “Lighter in the Heights,” a community garage sale established to defray expenses of Lights in the Heights. The sale date is Saturday, September 29th from 7am - 12 noon, with a rain date of October 6th. There are two ways to assist: 

  1. Contribute items in good condition to the Community Sale. 100% of the sale proceeds go to fund LITH. Donations can be dropped off at 2822 Florence, at the corner of Byrne (the flamingo house). For heavier items, please contact me to arrange pick up.
  2. Your sale, your stuff, your house, our date. Your address will be publicized along with the date and address of the Community Sale. Donate 20% of your sale proceeds to LITH.

Questions? Contact Peggy Sparks at 713.628.8809 (mobile) or pegysparks@att.net

HMS Student Designs 2018 Lights in the Heights® Logo by Michael Graves


The Lights in the Heights Committee has been working for more than three months planning for Lights in the Heights events to be held starting in September.  Having been on the LITH Committee for that long, I am finding myself humming Christmas Carols and trying to remember all the words to my favorite holiday poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore.  So, I have loosely patterned this on that beloved holiday poem that Moore wrote for his children almost two hundred years ago, in 1822.

‘Twas the week before summer vacation, and all through Hogg Middle School, Students were anxious about final exams and trying to stay calm and cool. Principal Angela Sugarek was watching over students with care,
As their excitement for summer vacation could be heard in the air.
Some students were busy in their Intro Graphic Design class, using the Web And Adobe InDesign to create digital images of what danced in their heads. Art Teacher Connie Sulewski, who directs the Graphics Design Program at Hogg, Called for her class’s attention, “A new assignment,” she said with a nod.
Then in the classroom there arose such moaning and clatter,
Seventh-grader, Jacob Gonzales looked around to see what was the matter?
“You are not required to do this assignment, it’s just for fun,”
Said Ms. Sulewski, “but you could be famous after you’re done.”
Jacob felt Ms. Sulewski was talking directly to him
As she listed items that would have the 2018 logo on them:
“On banners! On letters! On signs and posters!
On aprons! On ornaments! On napkins, even wine glasses!”
Away to a computer Jacob flew like a flash,
So he could start the assignment quickly, after his dash.
When what in his wandering mind did appear,
But the Lone Star of Texas, something Jacob holds dear.
With a wink of his eye and a nod of his head,
“That’s it!  That’s the design they will want!” Jacob said.
He spoke no more words, but went straight to his work,
Drawing a digital image of his logo, then sat back with a jerk,
On his screen, holiday lights made the Lone Star’s shape, 
The words were neon colors, and at the bottom was the date.
With a sense of pride and hope in his heart, 
Jacob submitted his design, so Ms. Sulewski could do her part.
At a Lights in the Heights Committee meeting, Ms. Sulewski presented
30 excellent designs culled from about 100 submitted.
The LITH Committee was astounded at all the designs, and so impressed,
How would they ever choose just one as the best?
This year’s Co-Chairs, Susan and Sharon, took the lead,
After much discussion and input, the Committee finally agreed:
The Lone Star Holiday Lights design was selected for the 2018 logo!
Jacob Gonzales was the winner – a future graphics design pro!

Congratulations, Jacob Gonzales!
The graphic design program at Hogg Middle School offers students comprehensive problem-solving explorations from the conceptual development phase through production of effective design solutions using digital technologies. Graphic design students address concepts of a variety of design problems leading to the execution and evaluation of their solutions, while gaining confidence and proficiency working with digital media.

- Beth Allen-Brock

It’s time to get real about sustainable transportation by Michael Graves

By now, you’ve probably seen the Houston BCycle station at Woodland Park. What you might not realize is that the station connects our historic neighborhood to a public transit system with 65 other bike share stations across Houston.


Anyone can pick up a bike from our Woodland Park station and ride to nearby places like Bobcat Teddy’s, Sabine Bridge, and Market Square Park. When you arrive at your destination, you simply dock the bike and go about your day until you need to ride again. (Round-trip rides are permitted as well.)

You can take as many hour-long rides as you’d like for just $9 per month. It’s even cheaper if you’re a student or staff member at a local university–those pursuing and providing higher education pay just $25 per semester for full access. Memberships are not available at the stations; you have to visit the BCycle website or download the mobile app to sign up.

Once you’ve got your membership activated, you’ll find that short trips that used to be a hassle in a car are now fun bike adventures. You’ll start to become increasingly familiar with the station map as you plan each upcoming bike share expedition. You’ll find incredible value in skipping traffic and parking hassles while enjoying a much more intimate view of the city.

Last year, a record 142,257 rides were taken throughout the system, replacing nearly a million pounds of carbon emissions. As a local nonprofit-run organization, Houston BCycle is looking to continue to offer affordable transportation that improves the health of riders and the environment alike.

Fresh off of City Council’s approval, Houston BCycle will be growing even further into the Heights in the coming year, along with major expansions at Texas Medical Center, University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, and Texas Southern University.

Let’s keep Houston rolling and start seeing our city on two wheels.

- Henry Morris, Houston Bike Share

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.

Recipe: Felix Mexican Restaurant Chile Con Queso by Michael Graves

Source: Felix Mexican Restaurant, Houston, Texas – A recipe that I worked on when doing recipe testing for The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh. For many of us growing up in Houston, we remember this queso very fondly. It is still available at El Patio on Westheimer.

My own personal theory is that Felix Tijerina might have known a French chef or had access to a French cookbook, as his particular queso is very reminiscent of the cheese sauces of France.

The Recipe
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 pound American cheese, grated (2 cups)

Combine oil, onion, salt, pepper, tomatoes, cayenne, sugar, paprika and garlic powder in heavy pot and simmer 25 to 30 minutes over medium heat.

Mix flour and water in small bowl; add to onion mixture gradually, stirring until smooth and thick. Add cheese, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Cook until well-blended and smooth. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Note: A similar recipe attributed to Felix’s appears in the Houston Junior Forum cookbook, Buffet on the Bayou. But the sugar is omitted and the paprika is increased to 3 tablespoons.

- Jay Francis, VP-Membership, WHCA