Friday Night Lights - on Sunday! by Michael Graves


A portion of the family fun originally planned for the FNL event last week has been rescheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, December 16th.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting Woodland Heights at the Norhill Esplanade on Sunday afternoon, December 16 from 3:30-5:30. Neighbors wishing to participate in Operation: Stocking Stuffer can bring an unwrapped, unopened new toy to the event where the donation boxes will be set up. There will be s’mores and the final sale of LITH merchandise for 2018.

Lights in the Heights 2018 Winning Homes by Michael Graves

The LITH judging committee toured the route Thursday evening with the help of Jeff Trevino and his open-air art-mobile. The following are this year’s award winning homes:

  • MOST COLORFUL – 514 Euclid

  • MOST FESTIVE – 412 Euclid

  • MOST CREATIVE – 529 Highland

  • MOST WATTAGE – 419 Euclid

  • MOST RELIGIOUS – 402 Byrne

  • BEST THEME – 309 Euclid

  • BEST SINGLE COLOR: 530 Byrne

  • MOST TRADITIONAL – 418 Byrne

  • PICK OF THE NIGHT – 501 Euclid

  • HO-HO-HO – 406 Byrne

  • BEST PORCH – 711 Euclid

  • BEST BLOCK – 400 Byrne

  • BEST NOT-QUITE-A-BLOCK – 1000 Euclid / condo complex

  • MOST MYSTICAL – 713 Byrne

  • BEST FOSSIL – 428 Byrne

  • “THE MOST” – 1020 East 7th

  • MOST HISTORICAL – 518 Byrne

  • BEST BLOW-UPS – 313 Byrne

  • BEST ON-4-WHEELS – Decorated vintage truck on 1000 block of 7th

Friday Night Lights 2018 by Michael Graves

Kick off your Lights in the Heights weekend at Friday Night Lights on Friday, December 7 from 5:00 – 9:00 pm on Norhill Esplanade. At this festive event, neighbors can gather around the campfire and toast marshmallows or enjoy dinner from a local food truck under the glow of Jurassic Christmas displays.

Lights in the Heights merchandise will be on sale all night, so be sure to grab your private party signs and keepsakes. Some of our generous sponsors, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights and H-E-B, will also be at the event to spread the holiday cheer.

Enjoy the lights around the neighborhood by hopping on the famed hayride, starting at 5:30. Children can take part in a 30-year-old neighborhood tradition at the craft tent and decorate a luminaria. And while you are enjoying all the fun, keep your ear out for sleigh bells because Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at 6:30.


To give back as a neighborhood, Woodland Heights will host a toy drive in coordination with the Lights and the Heights festivities. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Norhill Esplanade on Friday, December 7 from 5-9 pm or Saturday, December 8 from 9 am - 12pm. There will be large donation boxes with the Operation: Stocking Stuffer logo for your gift.

To volunteer to help with FNL please contact

Lights in the Heights Route Map by Michael Graves

You can click on the map image above to download a PDF copy of the reference route map.

You can click on the map image above to download a PDF copy of the reference route map.

We’ve had a lot of feedback concerning the traffic congestion and the fact that some of our streets are practically impossible to have two-way traffic flow with parking on both sides. To alleviate this, we are trying something new this year; one-way traffic flow with parking on both sides for the majority of our east-west streets. Bayland, Pecore and White Oak will remain two-way streets.

Also, all of Norhill with the North side blocked off but allowing for East/West traffic on Bayland.

Bike Houston will be providing secure bike parking at the North end of the Norhill Esplanade.

Please! Please! Do not block driveways!


Better yet, if you need a ride into the neighborhood, use Lyft! This year we are proud to partner with Lyft to help you get to and from Lights in the Heights safely. Share the promo code HEIGHTSLIGHTS with your friends and party guests, and they will receive 50% off (up to $5) of two rides during Lights in the Heights.

Lyft is operating an official, fully-staffed pickup and drop-off station at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church at 600 Pecore.

Otherwise, very limited parking is available in the neighborhood, including at Vineyard Church, Zion Church (fee applies), Woodland Park, and Stude Park.

Sharon Greiff, LITH Co-chair

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.

Book Review: A history of the Woodland Heights and Surrounding Communities by Omar Holquin, Jr. by Michael Graves

Want to catch up on Neighborhood History? Check these out these titles.

Recollections: a history of the Woodland Heights and Surrounding Communities by Omar Holquin, Jr.

This lovely and informative book was published as part of the Centennial Celebration of the Woodland Heights in 2007. Many of the contributors to this neighborhood history continue to live here and may be your next door neighbors.

The contents of this book include a history of the area before it was developed by the Wilson Company describing notable sites like Beauchamp Springs School, the Klunkert Farm, and the Bayland Orphanage. We all might be living in Beauchampville, not Woodland Heights if William A. Wilson had not selected this prime location for his real estate enterprise.

The neighborhood looked very different at the turn of the century. What we now know as Woodland Park had a hotel, beer garden, 50 foot roller coaster, plus a pair of ostriches purchased by school children through a collection of pennies. Containing pictures of early settlers, businesses, and other landmarks, this book is a historical gem.

It is for sale on Amazon (of course) and also at if you would like a copy for your shelf.

Yard-of-the-Month: 3002 Norhill by Michael Graves

Shawn & Dominique Rodgers, at 3002 Norhill, love supporting local businesses and love planting their own plants each season. Everything in their yard was sourced this past Spring from Buchanan’s Native Plants on 11th Street. Dominique spent several days researching to pick out just the right plants. They wanted hardy perennials that were heat and cold tolerant, drought resistant, good with full and partial sun areas of the yard, and ones that would mix well together for visual and textural appeal.

So far they have done the job, including:

  • Fox Tail Ferns

  • Monkey Grass

  • Regular Mondo Grass

  • Bronze Ajuga - ground cover, perennials (along the flower bed borders) - these are some of their favorites.

  • Queen Anne Lily of the Nile - perennial - around the base of the trees. These grew beautifully in their back yard, so transplanted to the front yard.

  • All Summer Gardenias - perennial (in the large pots.)

  • Baby Gem Boxwoods - perennials (in the medium sized pots) and regular boxwood in all the flower beds.

  • Black & Blue Salvia - perennial - around the street post and in the main flower beds. The bees & butterflies love these.

  • Salvia Amistad- perennial - in the main flower bed.

  • Angelonia - in the main flower beds

  • Cora cascade polka dot Trailing vinca - in the bed to the left of the house.

  • Graffiti White Pentas - perennial - all over the yard.

  • Zebra Hydrangea - on the porch in pots.

Living on the Norhill Esplanade means they have front row seats to the festivities every December, and are looking forward to celebrating with their neighborhood again this year!

- Stephanie Riceman, VP-Beautification

LIGHTS IN THE HEIGHTS DECORATIONS JUDGING – Thursday December 6th! by Michael Graves

Lights in the Heights 2018 300px.png

The judging committee will be rolling down the route Thursday evening on the 6th, so make sure to have your decorations lit if you would like to participate. If you’re ON the route, you’re automatically in the running.

If you’re OFF the route, you’ll need to nominate your house or your neighbors by emailing so the judges can be sure to include you in the competition.

This year there will also be a BEST BLOCK competition (on-route only), so get busy stringing up those lights with your neighbors! Good luck to you all!

Calling all Bakers! Porch Cookies needed for Lights in the Heights. by Michael Graves


LITH committee is needing volunteers to help with cookie baking. The cookies are a long-standing tradition provided to the houses that volunteer their porches for the night’s live entertainment along the official route. Be a part of the tradition and fire up those ovens! Cookies will need to be delivered between December the 6th and the 7th – any time of the day.

If you can help out, please email to sign up for more details.

Creature Feature #2: Amelia Stowers' Menagerie by Michael Graves

The Stowers family lives on Highland Street. Their daughter, Amelia, loves animals and has seven pets, including her new basset hound puppy, “Spots” and her bearded dragon, “Sunset”. “Spots has long ears that drag the ground”, Amelia explained. And her father Greg said, “And Sunset will ride on Amelia’s shoulder and not jump off.” These are some cool pets!

Amelia Stowers, Spots & Sunset.

A holiday Brontosaurus.

This editor, while out walking our dogs, recently observed the unveiling of their latest addition, a very bright Brontosaurus, just for the holidays.

Adopt a Drain, Name a Drain, Prevent Flooding! by Michael Graves

Houston's Adopt-A-Drain program launched April 2018 and upgrades have been unveiled recently, including the naming feature. The program allows the community to help prevent future flooding and keeps neighborhood storm drains clean. As Adopt-A-Drain partners, program participants are asked to keep their drain clear by cleaning it at least 4x/year (especially before it rains). Click here for info.

Lights in the Heights® has teamed up with Lyft, because we care. by Michael Graves


We care about your safety.

Don't risk drinking and driving, even a short distance. Take Lyft to the Light up the Night Holiday Bash at 1111 Studewood on November 3 for half off (up to $5) on two rides, with promo code HEIGHTSBASH. Restrictions apply. Click here for more info.

We care about your concerns.

We understand that traffic and parking is an issue the night of Lights in the Heights. To help ease the congestion, Lyft will have a dedicated Pick-up and Drop-off location for Lights in the Heights attendees on 600 Pecore at St. Mark's Methodist. Lyft will provide on-site support staff to assist passengers and direct traffic, lighting and displays, seating, and other services at this designated location. Please share this link ( your friends and party guests so they'll get half off (up to $5) on two rides during Lights in the Heights on Dec 8, with promo code HEIGHTSLIGHTS. Restrictions apply.

Lighter-in-the-Heights Update by Michael Graves


Many, many thanks to the numerous generous neighbors that donated items to be sold at our Community Sale to benefit Lights in the Heights. We had a huge variety of sale goods and there was something for every shopper.

The sale was scheduled for Saturday, September 29th and got rained out after a short time. Even though the rains came, we made over $900 that first day and another $800 the following day. The rain date was Saturday, October 6th and we publicized again and held the sale all day.

Our grand total is.......(drum roll please) $3,270.85!

In addition, we have several valuable pieces of art that we withheld from the sale. When sold at the coming bash auction we are hoping that these pieces will bring our income up to over $4,000 in support of Lights in the Heights!

In addition to the Community Sale that was graciously hosted by Sharon Greiff at her home, the following neighbors hosted garage sales and donated 20% of their proceeds to the Lights in the Heights fundraising efforts:

  • Stephanie Leachman

  • Ted Harris

  • Steve Pagan

  • Kim Lytle

  • Linda Ebaugh

  • Jenn Jacobs

  • Julie Miller

  • Debbie Markey

  • Robyn Klepper

  • and William Zakroff

Thank you for all of your hard work and perseverance through the rain storms and the humidity that followed.

Thanks again to not only the generous donors and to the hosted garage sales throughout the neighborhood that made their homes "Lighter" but to the many neighbors that came out and shopped our sale and made our load of items "Lighter".

And of course, we could not have accomplished the sale without the help of the committee persons and neighbors who came out in the early morning hours and contended with the heavy rainstorms to set up and then move everything back inside and then out again.

Special thanks to Susan Pennebaker, Melissa McKee, Beth Allen-Brock, Megan Mastal, Paul and Frances Chan, Tiffany Tyler, Cathy Courtney, Debbie Hall, Claire Getschow, Judy Hoke-Meschwitz, Jackie Cook, Janice Hoxworth, Anne Edwards, Erin Burnett, Louise Moss, and Carmen Sumrall.

I know there were others who came out and donated their valuable time in the rain, heat, and humidity. Another special shout out to Margot Dimond for providing the widespread publicity. Thanks to each and every one of you. We could not have accomplished this fundraising effort without the team of volunteers!

This is a fabulous giving neighborhood that we live in!

- Peggy Sparks
“Lighter in the Heights”

Yard-of-the-Month: 934 Euclid by Michael Graves

This month's Yard of the Month fittingly celebrates the harvest! It may not be the most beautiful (because that might be the yard three doors to the west, at 946 Euclid), but it is the most BOUNTIFUL.


According to the current resident, Jeff Shell lovingly cultivated the yard in the early 2000s, so now the massive persimmon tree dominates and fruits generously, along with pomelo and pomegranate. These juicy trees provide a buffer to the equally abundant butterfly gardens closer to the house. It's all looking a little wild and fun, yet somewhat low maintenance, and absolutely delicious.


Learn Local Charity Open presented by First Imperial Mortgage by Michael Graves

October 20, 2018

For Immediate Release:

Learn Local is hosting its third annual golf tournament on November 3, 2018 at Clear Creek Golf Club. The tournament is always a fun outing. The format is a casual, four-person, best ball scramble. All skill levels are welcome and is open to players 16 and up. $100 player fee ($350 for foursomes) includes green fees and golf cart, lunch, 4 drink tickets, 1 entry into the Putting Contest and player swag bags.

All proceeds will once again benefit Hogg Outdoors – a capital campaign to raise funds for enhancement to Hogg Middle School’s outdoor facilities. We are thrilled to share that demolition on the field & basketball court has begun. We hope the work will move quickly and we will have a new basketball court, field and track soon. The new fields will also include new outdoor seating, scoreboard, baseball and softball batting cages, and irrigation to keep the fields green. Once this phase is underway, we will start the design for Phase Two which includes acrylic surfacing on the basketball court and a playground for the students and neighborhood to enjoy.

Learn Local, Hogg families, SPARK, and Heights Community Business Partners have already raised over $140,000 toward the initiative! We still need additional donors to help achieve this vision for Hogg Middle School and for the community. We are very close to meeting our Phase One goals and a successful golf tournament will get us there.

Hogg Middle School is a STEM Magnet and an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in the heart of the Woodland Heights neighborhood and is a feeder school for nine local elementary schools and Heights High School. Great strides are being made including having a wait list for the first time for the 2017-2018 school enrollment period. The historic school building has undergone renovation and beautification in the last few years and now efforts are being focused on bringing the same rejuvenation to the outdoor facilities. Learn Local is a grassroots non-profit created by community-minded, Heights neighborhood parents who are committed to making Hogg a first-class middle school and the first choice for local children.

Register or donate online at

Prizes include Winning team, Closest to the Pin, Women’s and Men’s Longest Drive, Putting Contest and Honesty Award - donated by Liberty Kitchen, Buchanan’s Native Plants, 8th Wonder Distillery and Brewery, Pink’s Pizza, iPadel Houston, Pedras Wine, RIDE Indoor Cycling Studio, Arcis Golf Players Club and more.

Generous Community Sponsors include:
First Imperial Mortgage – Title Sponsor
Marianne and Kenny Terrell of Boulevard Realty – Golf Cart Sponsor
Ashley Day of Circa Realty – Swag Bag Sponsor
Lucas Craftsmanship – Putting Green Sponsor

Hole Sponsors: Caroline Schlemmer, L&B Limited, Bicycle Bungalows, Heights Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Michalson Builders, Monarch Roofing, Nations Construction Management, Peltier Brothers Construction.

Register or donate online at

For more information contact Shea Hill, Tournament Chair.


About Learn Local: Founded on September 24, 2013, our mission is to establish a bridge for our children between our successful Heights neighborhood elementary schools and Hogg Middle School, enabling progression within our strong, unique community.

Learn Local is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

President’s Message - ‘Tis the Season by Michael Graves


The holiday season is upon us. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, there is no getting around the fact, the holiday season is fast approaching. For the Woodland Heights, the holiday season comes with more than its annual evening of fun, Lights In The Heights.

The LITH big night is December 8th, a Saturday, as a culmination of several events coordinated by the Woodland Heights Civic Association via the LITH Committee. Lighter In The Heights, completed over two weekends (October 8 and October 15), expertly pulled off by Sharon Greiff and the LITH committee despite rain on the first weekend, gave folks in the neighborhood a chance to be free of their garage sale items without going through the hassle of staging a garage sale.

November 3 at 7 PM is Light Up The Night Bash, a casual gathering for fun and frolic, will feature unique silent auction items, food from neighborhood restaurants, wine, and beer. Friday Night Lights on December 7 (I luv the name of this casual gathering for neighbors on the Norhill Esplanade!) followed by the biggie, LITH. There are full details on the events, opportunities and merchandise posted on the WHCA website under

After months of planning and coordination, at our WHCA General Meeting and General Forum (for all Woodland Heights residents, not just those who are members of the WHCA) of September 11, Sharon Greiff presented a detailed overview of all the plans and preparation going into pulling off a fun, safe and secure LITH. Several members of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events along with Representative Cisneros and her Director of Special Operations were in attendance along with numerous WHCA members and non-member residents. The crowd showed unanimous support of all the efforts put forth to better LITH. No one who had a negative opinion of LITH or might have a criticism of the organizers and their plans attended.

That stated, we, the Board of the WHCA, know there are those in the neighborhood who long for the good old days when LITH was a tiny event almost exclusively for the neighborhood. Gone are those days. Personally, I moved into the neighborhood in 2007 and have lived on both Omar and Bayland, the guts of the LITH in years past. I personally witnessed the huge attendances and have also personally witnessed the decrease in attendance over the last few years. This decrease is the result of a concerted effort by previous WHCA Boards and LITH Committees to “localize” the event. These efforts have been hugely successful by decreasing the attendance more than 50 percent. As my wife would say, Good on ya, you beaut!

For all the gains, there is no doubt there was and will be continue to be incidents which rancor some folks in the neighborhood. To the extent possible, the LITH committee and the WHCA Board of Directors have worked diligently to limit the potential of such incidents and secure the event in such a way, should such incidents occur, a suitable response is available. The Board and LITH Committee cannot control individual behavior. We suggest, should you witness foul behavior, report it. The LITH Committee have seen to it there is plenty of security, both HPD and Constable Patrol.

Although the General Neighborhood Forum for LITH is past, we have another WHCA General Meeting scheduled for November 13th. We invite you to attend. If you are not a member of the WHCA, we also invite you to join so you too will have a chance to vote your opinion on any issue raised to a ballot.

Harry McMahon
Woodland Heights Civic Association

Greater Northside Management District (GNMD) & UH Urban Design Workshop by Michael Graves

Greater Northside Management District (GNMD) would like to invite you to our Urban Design Workshop with the University of Houston - Community Design Resource Center (CDRC) on November 9, 2018, at 12 PM at BakerRipley Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South Street. The purpose of this Urban Design Workshop is to develop the strategic vision and place-based urban design strategies for opportunity areas related to connectivity, identity, and economic development for the District. We are excited to receive a design standard toolkit for the District designed by CDRC composed from stakeholder workshops.

Please RSVP to for lunch count.

Greater Northside Urban Design Workshop
Greater Northside Management District/Community Design Resource Center
November 9, 2018, at 12PM
Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South Street

And the Winning Bid Goes To … by Michael Graves

This year’s Light Up the Night Holiday Bash will feature a live auction of special items:

Cooking class with Jay Francis for you and 5 friends. You'll learn to make a German chocolate cake, almond biscotti, and a surprise dessert. Date to be mutually agreed upon.

Meet with Meek – Renowned artist Bill Meek of Meek Gallery will host you and 20 friends with a wine and lite bites evening at his gallery. Bill will demonstrate his unique glass sculpturing and contouring techniques. Date to be mutually agreed upon.

Wine Lover’s Dream – Your WHCA Board has thoughtfully filled the Little Red Wagon with choice bottles of red and white.

Conroe Lakehouse Get-away for a Week– Relax in this 3-2 Walden lake house on the water. Bring your boat or rent one at the Walden Marina for a scenic cruise of this 30-mile long lake. Lounge on the large porch with a good book, or fish off your dock. Date to be mutually agreed upon.

Holiday Hayride – Celebrate the season by touring the 2018 LITH streets and neighborhood in style on Monday, December 17, from 6 – 8 pm. Departs from Buchanan’s on 11th Street at 6 pm sharp. 15 spots, shared ride. This ride normally books a year in advance, so don't miss out!

Get your ticket soon so that you can be one of the winning bidders!

Light up the Night Holiday Bash
Saturday, November 3, 2018, 7 – 11 pm
Roof-top of 1111 Studewood

Join this unique opportunity!

Holiday Bash Volunteers Needed! by Michael Graves


Hello neighbors!

We are looking for volunteers to help make our Holiday Bash a smashing success! It is going to be an awesome event with delicious food and drinks from local vendors, a cool rooftop venue, great silent auction items, and lots of fun neighbors ready to celebrate LITH 2018! We need people to help in the following time slots:

Saturday, November 3rd:

  • 3 people to help set up silent auction items from (5pm - 6:30pm at the party venue)

  • 2 people to check-in people to the silent auction (7 - 9pm)

  • 4 people to help check out guests after the silent auction is over (choose a 9pm - 10 pm or 10pm - 11 pm shift)

  • 2 people to be in charge of items that don't get picked up that night

If you’re interested signup using the following link:

For additional information about the Holiday Bash see

Thank you making this year's LITH party a great success!

Recipe: Moroccan Spice Sweet Potato Stew by Michael Graves

Jay Francis, WHCA Board Member for Membership offers the following delicious Fall recipe. And, it’s vegetarian to boot. Four servings, 360 calories each, 14g protein, 70g carbohydrate, 13g fiber


Moroccan Spice Sweet Potato Stew

  • 7 tsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup no salt added chickpeas ( I make my own by simmering chickpeas in water until tender, after soaking overnight)

  • Several sweet potatoes equalling one pound, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces

  • 2 small zucchini, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces (what I do is make my stew but simmer the zucchini separately, in water. I then top the stew with the zucchini. So that the zucchini doesn’t disintegrate by simmering with the stew itself)

  • 1 cup couscous reconstituted with hot water per package instructions, and fluffed with 1 tablespoon of butter

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender but no more than lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cumin, and allspice and stir until combined.

Add the tomatoes, broth, beans, and sweet potato. Return to medium heat, and cook, covered for 10 minutes or until all is tender. Separately, cook the zucchini. If time is an issue, add the zucchini to the stew to cook with it.

Serve with the couscous