MextroNext Public Meeting Monday, January 28th by Michael Graves


METRO’s Board of Directors, led by Chair Carrin Patman, is developing a new plan for transit services in the Houston/Harris County region. It will be a forward-looking plan focused on providing more transportation choices to more people.

The planning process has been underway since 2017. The current phase in the process includes a series of public meetings to expose the draft plan for comment. The public meeting nearest to Woodland Heights is as follows:

Monday, January 28 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Fulbright Tower
1301 McKinney
Houston, Texas 77010

For more information about MetroNext see their website.

Councilor Karla Cisneros on Trash & Recycling Collection by Michael Graves

This morning’s email newsletter from District H Councilor Karla Cisneros included the following letter:

January 17, 2019

Dear District H Constituents,

      As Council Member representing District H, I want to touch base with you all regarding the spike in missed and delayed waste pick up whether it be recycling or heavy trash. Please know that this spike is not isolated to your neighborhood or even just District H. This is a city-wide problem that has been happening for the last few months, and in an effort to achieve clarity, I have compiled below information regarding the delays and what the Solid Waste Department is doing to resume regularly scheduled recycling and heavy trash pickup.

What is causing the delays?

  • The City’s fleet of recycling trucks is aging and many sustained damage during Hurricane Harvey. This has led to equipment downtime as the trucks are repaired.

  • Many homeowners’ garbage and recycling bins were washed away during Hurricane Harvey, creating a backlog of delivery of the new bins.

  • Solid Waste is experiencing an increase in volume, typical for this time of year, further contributing to delays.

  • Solid Waste needs new truck mechanics and experienced CDL drivers, of which there are few, due to the nation-wide skilled labor shortage.

What is the City doing to help?

  • At the end of the summer, Solid Waste will receive 69 new trucks.

  • City Council voted to approve a recycling collections contract with a private vendor and a rental contract for extra manual collection garbage trucks while we wait for the new trucks to come in this summer. 

  • While there is a hiring freeze for most City of Houston departments, Solid Waste is exempt so that they may hire desperately needed trucks drivers and mechanics. To apply, visit this website.

  • Solid Waste has staff working overtime on weekends in an effort to get back on schedule.

  • Mayor Turner’s team is tracking all missed and delayed pickups personally by remaining in communication with Solid Waste, 311 operators, and Council Members.

  • The Solid Waste Department’s Facebook page updates information on daily routes being picked up each day.

  • Regularly-scheduled pickups are projected to resume ~60 days.

What can residents do?

  • Solid Waste is encouraging residents to take advantage of the six neighborhood depositories in the city. For more information on locations and requirements please visit this website.

  • If your bin is not picked up on your regularly-scheduled day, please report the situation first to 311 and then to my office by calling 832-393-3003. My office will coordinate with the Solid Waste department as well as the Mayor’s office to track and resolve the issue.

  • Continue to follow social media and the Solid Waste website for updates on when your neighborhood’s pickup will take place.

I understand that this situation is not only inconvenient, but frustrating. My staff and I have been tracking this issue for months and continue to vigilantly advocate for the constituents of District H. We are here to make your communications with the City of Houston more efficient and more transparent, so please do not hesitate to call my office with your issues, be they Solid Waste related or otherwise.


Karla Cisneros

Council Member, District H

Yard-Of-The-Month: 528 Bayland by Michael Graves

My friend and I have loved this sweet, expansive yard for a while! Watching it transform through seasons only seems to bring out the beauty in its evolution. 

Looking over the fence you see nicely manicured space, but what is really cool is all along the sidewalk: an antique water fountain with a little bowl for neighborhood critters to have a drink on hot days, benches for big and little kids to have a rest and meet neighbors, and a thoughtfully designed sidewalk that lofts over giant oak root mounds and also easy for those of us on wheels. It's a lovely merger of urban and wild - how fitting for our Woodland Heights, so close to downtown.

- Stephanie Riceman, VP-Beautification

LITH 2018 Merchandise by Michael Graves

Whew, 2018 Lights in the Heights is just a memory, now. And it still has us smiling — fun times, great folks, huge success! This year’s LITH has been a true labor-of-love, for the 2018 LITH Committee. On behalf of the entire LITH Committee, we want to extend our warmest thanks to everyone who supported LITH, in every way. In particular, Melissa McKee and Beth Allen-Brock send our special thanks to those who purchased LITH and WH branded merchandise. This year, merchandise sales topped $10,800, which generated profits of approximately $4400. Every penny of merchandise sales’ profit goes toward the expenses of 2018 Lights in the Heights.

Thank you, neighbors!!

LITH 2018 Acknowledgements by Michael Graves

Lights in the Heights 600px.png

Lights in the Heights is the result of a massive amount of work by a volunteer team of neighbors. With the event now well in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to extend a big thank you to the entire team of LITH 2018 Chairs and Volunteers!

Lights in the Heights Co-Chairs

  • Sharon Greiff

  • Susan Pennebaker

Lighter in the Heights Chair

  • Peggy Sparks

Holiday Bash Co-Chairs

  • Gabe Vick

  • Bridget Vick

  • Jason Williams

  • Kristi Williams

Silent Auction Chair

  • Lauren Snead

LITH Budget Chair

  • Melissa McKee

LITH Merchandise Co-Chairs

  • Beth Allen-Brock

  • Robyn Klepper

  • Melissa McKee

Friday Night Lights Chair

  • Katie McCafferty

LITH Volunteer Coordinator

  • Claire Getschow

Vendor Contracts, City Permits, Insurance Rider

  • Melissa Sternfels

  • Sharon Greiff

Communications Publisher and WHCA Web

  • Michael Graves

Distribution of Newsletters

  • Andrea Gorney

Art Direction and Graphic Design

  • Stella Espinosa

Luminaria Chair

  • Caroline Johnston

Printing Coordinator, Cookie Chair

  • Robyn Klepper

Block/Porch Generals

  • Meagan Mastal

  • Melissa Sternfels

Band/Porch Coordinators

  • Meredith Burke

  • Ward Pennebaker

  • Kent Brock

Awards Judging Chair

  • Stephanie Riceman

Luminaria Chair

  • Caroline Johnston

LITH Web Portal

  • Mark Sternfels

Thanks also to all volunteers who supported the above chairs with their time, ideas and do-nations.

Houston NFLer Brings 5k to Houston Heights to raise $50,000 for Sickle Cell Charity in Honor of Late Twin Brother by Michael Graves

Click above for the PDF flier.

Click above for the PDF flier.

HOUSTON (November 5, 2018) – As One Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by retired NFL star Devard Darling, will host its 9th Annual Darling Dash 5k sponsored by UT Physicians Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. The event will take place at 8 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Stude Park in the Houston (1031 Stude Street, Houston, TX 77007.) A growing list of pro athletes, including former Houston Texans’ Chester Pitts, FSU Seminole’s Myron Rolle and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Darrius Heyward-Bey have been invited to be on hand for photos and autographs. This year, the team with the largest number of participants will have VIP access and a tent outfitted with special prizes.

A former wide receiver for the NFL, Darling founded As One Foundation in memory of his identical twin brother, Devaughn, whose death was related to sickle cell disease. The dash will fund As One Foundation’s Operation Hydration. The training program educates student athletes, coaches and staff about the correlation between sickle cell attacks and poor hydration. Proceeds will also go to the foundation’s scholarship program. “I know how terrible it feels to lose someone you love,” said Darling. “It pains me my brother’s death could’ve easily been prevented if we were more informed about sickle cell. Our goal is to prevent tragedies like this from happening through awareness and support.”

Online registration is open at through race day from $25 to $40 and the first 1,000 finishers will receive medals. The goal is to raise $50,000 and exceed past prior fundraising efforts.

The 2019 Darling Dash marks the 18th anniversary of Devaughn Darling’s death at 18 due to exhaustion and dehydration during football practice. Both Darling brothers carry the sickle cell trait, which can be fatal when paired with physical rigor and lack of hydration.

According to the American Football Coaches Association, sickle cell trait-related deaths lead the causes of death of collegiate football players. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. The CDC states people with sickle cell disease have less access to comprehensive care than people with genetic disorders such as hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.

The mission of As One Foundation is to educate and increase awareness of sickle cell trait while encouraging youth to achieve their dreams in the face of life’s challenges. On Feb. 26, 2001, Devaughn Darling lost his life due to sickle cell disease coupled with exhaustion during spring football practice at Florida State University. His identical twin brother, Devard Darling, persevered after the tragedy. He became an NFL star, but his most noteworthy accomplishment was founding As One Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring Devaughn’s life while elevating awareness of sickle cell trait. For more information on As One Foundation visit, and @AsOneFoundation on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.


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”