Friday, June 29, 2012

Are you a Lorax?

A local Heights area mom recently wrote to Mayor Parker regarding the loss of nineteen mature Live Oaks on Yale. She compared herself to The Lorax whom, in Dr Seuss' wonderful book, "speaks for the trees." Clearly, the trees can't speak for themselves. If they could, there would still be nineteen 30+ year old Live Oaks on Yale.

RUDH, who watches every step of development at the Yale St Walmart location, was one of the first groups to notice the trees were gone and start doing something about it. If you follow my Facebook page, you probably remember me posting the photo of a few of the crunched trees. It was truly heartbreaking, especially when last summer's drought cost us millions of trees. Trees help temper this hellacious heat, help clean the air (and we all know Houston has bad air) and also help prevent land erosion. 

According to the US Department of Agriculture:
  • The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
  • One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.

 There are more great facts about the benefits of trees listed on The Arbor Day Foundation's webpage. Check it out and see how trees help your environment, your stress level and your property value!

So, now we have lost these trees. What is going to happen? In public meetings, people opposed to the Walmart development were ensured that steps were being taken to make the area pedestrian friendly. How can that be true with no shade trees? Yes, Ainbinder does plan on putting trees in- significantly lower caliper and much less hardy Mexican Sycamores. These will never replicate the Live Oaks. Oh yeah, and they're not putting them back on the sidewalk. The planned "replacements" will be on Heights Boulevard. There is also no plan for any tree lines along the Koehler side of the development. Can someone tell me why we gave them $6million public dollars again? Must cost a lot to put in a bike trail to nowhere...

Anyway, please join me and write to the City about the trees. The Mayor was a Board Member at Trees For Houston. How could her administration permit removal of all these trees? It's beyond me. 

My note to the City was simple. Yours can be, too. However, should you want to write something more elaborate, RUDH has provided this sample letter on their StopTheHeightsWalmart Facebook page: 
 Dear Mayor Parker:
I am concerned that the new retail development at Koehler and Yale has removed, but not replaced, many of our valued street trees. The developer’s mitigation plan calls for the majority of trees to be replanted on the Heights Blvd. median, which is a purely recreational space. Our sidewalks are where pedestrians move. It is where we walk with our children, wait for transit and cycle alongside. The Live Oak tree canopy in the Heights provides much needed shade in the extreme summer heat and some respite from the rain. 
Our trees should be carefully guarded. If they must be removed for changes to infrastructure, they should be replaced as close to the same location as possible. Large, heat-resonating developments should specify street trees around their site to promote walk-ability and reduce the heat island effect.  
With Houston making great strides with their hike and bike trails, and the recent U.S. Department of Transportation awarding $15 Million in TIGER Grant to Houston for pedestrian and bike infrastructure improvements, it seems fiscally responsible to ensure that developers take steps to tie into this system. Street trees are the ideal place to start. I’m asking you to please find a positive resolution for our neighborhood and area infrastructure. Plant street trees on Yale and Koehler Streets.  

Sign your letter with your name. Sign it with no name. Sign it with "The Lorax." It doesn't matter how you sign it, just as long as you send it! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heights Happenings: June 27- July 4, 2012

Friday, June 29, 7 pm: Doug Moreland plays the last show for Heights Live!
  • Looks like the Heights family friendly concert series is coming to end. After two years of bringing many wonderful musicians to the Heights, I am sad to see them go. Apparently, they lost the space at Heights Presbyterian. I can’t imagine what else the church has planned for Friday nights, but chances are it won’t be as awesome.
  • Doug Moreland, who is both a musician and a chainsaw artist (!), will shut it down for us.
Saturday, June 30, 7 pm: Free Summer Concert with the Houston Heights Orchestra 
  • Houston Heights Association presents a free show with the Houston Heights Orchestra at Marmion park, 18th and Heights.
  • Pack a picnic basket and spread a blanket for the program featuring Sousa marches, patriotic tunes, and classical concert.
  • Don’t want to pack your own picnic? Juice Girl, H-town strEats, and Porch Swing Desserts will be on hand to satisfy hungry bellies.
  •  The Houston Heights Orchestra is an open group with a colorful mix of professionals, music-loving amateurs, and students. We are so happy to have them in the neighborhood!
  • For more information, visit either or or call 713-861-4002.

Saturday, June 30, 7pm to 11pm: “Punk Rock Prom” Gala benefitting Girls Rock Camp Houston
  • Tickets are still available at starting at $40. 
  • All proceeds from this event will benefit the Girls Rock Camp Houston, which is a day camp in Houston for girls aged 8 to 18.
  • The Gala will provide complimentary beer and wine, graciously provided by St. Arnold Brewing Company and Glazer’s. Food will be provided by Radical Eats Comida Vegetariana and Sophia Restaurant.
  • A Silent Auction will be held from 7pm to 10pm to benefit GRCH. Items to be auctioned off include Celebrity autographs, “Night Out” packages including dinner, hotel stay, and tickets to events by the Society of Performing Arts (SPA), and much more.
  • The evening’s entertainment will include DJ’s and an amateur drag show competition with male and female participants (“King” and “Queen” of the prom!)  Guests will have the opportunity to take ‘prom-style’ pictures. Those attending are encouraged to dress the part by wearing prom attire, punk rock attire, or a combination of the two. While encouraged, a dress code will not be enforced; the attitude of the event is “We don’t care how you dress, just come!”
  • After the Gala, the official Punk Rock Prom After-Party will be hosted by Public House Heights, 2802 White Oak. Mention GRCH to receive happy hour prices all night, and Public House will donate a portion of their sales to GRCH.
  • Girls Rock Camp Houston is a one-week summer day camp formed in October 2009 to offer girls (ages 8-18 years old) music and art based workshops.  Targeted areas include: musical development, self-esteem enhancement, creation of their own music, friendship and community building, and nurturing individual talents within a cooperative atmosphere.
Starting July 6: Upstage Theater presents Happy Days!
  • Upstage is bringing this Gary Marshall classic to the Heights in July!
  • $20 - Individual Seats; $15 - For Students and Seniors and parties of 8 or more.
  • UpStage Theatre is proud to be a family-friendly, all volunteer theatre in the Heights. For over 11 years, they have been providing an opportunity for the Houston community to enjoy high quality live entertainment at prices that are affordable to everyone. As a volunteer driven organization, “doors are open to anyone wanting to take part in our productions - acting, directing, technical theater, set design, set building, crew, ushers and concessions sales.”
  • Lambert Hall on Heights Blvd

Hello, Lucky = super cute
I had to share these photos of some of the latest upcycled jewelry offered at Hello, Lucky. These are so cute and just scream summertime!

“Heights Marketplace”
Interested in what’s going to open in the new “Heights (but not really in the Heights) Marketplace” on Yale? Here’s a pdf, proudly displaying a check cashing store, fast food, and a cheap haircut. Sigh.
Please help with a sidewalk survey!
A committee created by the Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council is seeking volunteers to assist with a block-by-block sidewalk survey. This survey is one of many pieces that will contribute to the Super Neighborhood’s comprehensive transportation plan.
For the complete story, please read this article: Group to do block-by-block Sidewalk Review
For information about volunteering, e-mail

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heights Happenings: June 18 - June 27, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm: Houston Heights Women's Club bi-monthly Happy Hour
  • What started out as a wild hair to get together has turned in to a favorite event for many members of the HHWC. If you're curious about the Club, want to meet some members or have been meaning to join, the HH is a great event. No program, no fuss. Just cocktails, mingling and enjoying company!
  • June's HH will be held at Shade on 19th St.
  • RSVP via email or on the HHWC Facebook page
Saturday June 23 & Saturday, June 30, 4:30 pm: Support Lucky Dog Rescue by doing Yoga! 
  • Happy Belly Studios will donate ALL proceeds from their 4:30 yoga class these Saturdays in June! 
  • It is a donation-based class so you can give as little or as much as you want. 
  • More information about the class and Heights owned/operated studio at
  • 920 Studemont 
Saturday, June 23, 10 am- 7 pm: 19th Street Summer Tent Sale

  • Favorite shops all up and down the street will be offering deals on those things you’ve been coveting for months. 19th Street merchants always put on the best events so this will be worth checking out, even if you’re not shopping. Participating stores include Thread, 18 Hands Gallery, Langford Market, Jubilee, Gen’s Antiques, Casa Ramirez, Replay and more.
  • You can get updates and more information on the Shop The Heights 19th Street Facebook page
Saturday, June 23 from 1pm- 6 pm: Happy Birthday to BB’s in the Heights


Thursday, June 21, 9 pm- 11 pm: The Word Around Town 2012 Poetry Draft

  • This year “to shake up the status quo” W.A.T has decided to host a one-night “Poetry Draft” – any and all poets are invited to bring their best work and read in front of a crowd and the organizers – scheduled poets include Joe B, Blanca Alanis, Stephen Gros and Lupe Mendez. 
  • The prize: a slot in this year’s line-up for the Word Around Town Poetry Tour. Currently, there are fourteen slots, seven of which have been selected, leaving seven up for the taking. 
  • Poets will sign up when they arrive - bring your best two pieces of poetry. W.A.T. expects this to “be a fun night, full of words and thoughtful expression.” 
  • Khon’s Winebar, 2808 Milam St


Thursday, June 28, 7 pm: Sunset Heights Civic Club June meeting moves to a special location - Samadhi Yoga Studios
  • Please join the SHCC for this free event 
  • This tour of the studio includes an optional instructor led stretching exercise appropriate for all skill levels.  If you plan to participate in that part of the event please wear comfortable and casual clothing, for example light weight sweat pants, leggings and t-shirts, or stretchy shorts and tank tops.  
  • Waters and snacks will be provided. 
  • The studio is located at the corner of Cortlandt and E 28th. 

Wednesday, July 18, 5 pm- 9 pm: Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce’s Heights Community Expo
  • This community event from the Chamber features the “Idol of the Heights” singing contest and Heights of Dining. Many local businesses will be on display. Heights of Dining will showcase area restaurants, who will be providing samples. Expected participants include all types of cuisine, including: Beck’s Prime, Chick-fil-A, Dickey’s BBQ, Gabby’s Steaks, Ribs and BBQ, Loco Concepts, Petite Sweets, Pollo Campero, The Big Mamou, Tony’s Mexican Restaurant and What’s Up Cupcake.
  • The Expo will take place at the SPJST Lodge located at 1435 Beall Street at West 15th 
  • Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door and includes 2 drinks for adults over 21
  • For additional information about the Heights Community Expo, or to purchase tickets call 713-861-6735, email, or visit the Chamber website  


Fighting for Feathered Friends--- Middle school student, Isabella Acuña, is working hard to convince city hall to allow Houstonians the option of keeping a few laying hens in their backyards. 

  • The current City of Houston ordinance for backyard chickens makes it nearly impossible to legally and responsibly have a backyard flock within residential neighborhoods.
  • Isabella became a chicken activist after the city told her to get rid of her six pet chickens. Instead of just whining about the ordinance restrictions for backyard coops, she decided to do something about it. The next day she started her petition Revise city ordinance to allow chicken coops within 20 ft of a residence. People all over the world have signed the petition to show their support.
  • By establishing a permitting process to allow residents to keep a limited number of hens in residential neighborhoods, the City of Houston will encourage stewardship of the environment, food production on a household scale, and environmental sustainability.
  • Updating Houston’s confusing chicken ordinance to one clearly stated and easily accessible would allows resident to know how they can keep chickens within the limits of the law, which would reduce complaints and other issues related to noncompliance. Isabella would like the current restrictions revised to the following terms:
    • No roosters.
    • No slaughtering.
    • Eight hens or less permitted per household.
    • Coops must be at least 20’ from neighboring residence.
    • Permit fee set at a reasonable amount that would cover associated costs of regulation.
    • Hens must be housed in a secure enclosure, but allowed roaming in their own yard.
  • As Isabella wrote to Houston Mayor Annise Parker, “People told me I cannot make a difference and nobody would listen.” She hopes to prove even a 12 year old can enhance the quality of life in the Heights and Houston
  • Please sign the petition to support her mission 
Greenlink bus service is now running downtown. 
  • Created by a partnership between the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District), BG Group and Houston First Corporation, the route spans 2.5 miles with approximately 20 stops and seven buses operating Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. This free and convenient transportation connects major office buildings along Smith and Louisiana streets to METRO transit stops, the convention corridor, hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
  • The Greenlink fleet consists of seven buses and ridership is expected to average 1,500 to 2,000 people per day. 
  • The bus route and points of interest around each stop can be found at
The Houston Public Library is asking for feedback 

  • The library system wants to learn more about library users, what services they use and how to make their experiences at its branches better. Respond by completing a brief five-minute survey. If you are someone who doesn't think of yourself as a library user, they still want to hear from you.
  • You can access the survey at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Harold's Torched for Tacos But What About Those Signs?

If you've been waiting with bated breath to see what happens to Harold's old store front, here is some info. This flyer was passed to me tonight and I am both sighing with relief and feeling underwhelmed at the same time.

Obviously it is wonderful to see most of the original building facade remain the same. This is smart redevelopment that moves forward but also respects the past. I do love that about it.

My problem is I am just so "meh" about Torchy's. An Austin chain putting a second location right in the heart of the Heights. It's not bad enough to be disappointing, but I can't get excited about it either.

My big question now is: What about the signs? Those red signs, that retro font, iconic in the neighborhood. Harold's was so special to the Heights. Harold kept the faith in the Heights when others wouldn't let their daughters north of I10. 

So, the last literal signs of an institution. Where do they go? The Wiesenthal family might want them, but wouldn't they have taken them already? My vote would be to donate them to a well established gallery or to the Heights Association. I would love the HHA to hang it in the first floor of the firestation... What would you suggest happen to the signs?

Heights Happenings: June 14- June 20, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 10 am: Make a Succulent Garden class at Buchanan’s
  • Container Garden Workshop lead by Paula Mabrey 
  • $10 fee for materials
  • Registration in advance required. Click here for more info and to register
  • Kickers BBQ food truck will be on hand Saturday as well. Kickers has just moved to Htown from Baton Rouge!

Saturday, June 16 & Sunday, June 17: Sale at Installations Antiques
  • I have posted this before but this is further markdowns, up to 50%, on archetectural antiques, tools, garden items, art and more
  • H-town StEATS will be set up in the courtyard with yumminess
  • 611 W 22nd

Saturday, June 16, 5:30pm- 7:30 pm: Celebrate Dad at Cavatore’s Happy Hour
  • Cavatore’s (kitschy, crazy) Italian restaurant is having a special Saturday Happy Hour in honor of Father’s Day
  • $5 drinks and appetizers
  • 2120 Ella
Family dining at Cavatore's

Tuesday, June 19, 4 pm- 7 pm: Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance seminar "Beneficial Insects and Establishing Eco Friendly Landscapes"
  • This workshop explains how to prevent pest problems from getting started, how to attract beneficials, how to ID insects, and how to select spray products that are eco-friendly and effective.
  • Featured speaker Suzanne Wainwright-Evans is an Ornamental Entomologist specializing in integrated pest management.  Suzanne has been involved in the Green Industry for more than 18 years with a primary focus on biological control and using pesticides properly.  She is a graduate of the University of Florida with degrees in both Entomology and Environmental Horticulture. 
  • Ticket includes a delicious organic dinner and educational materials.
  • $65 per OHBA member and each employee
  • $80 per non-OHBA member.  Non-members are sincerely welcome.
  • 50 Waugh Dr, in the United Way bldg


Monday, June 25, 6:30 pm: Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar and Karbach Brewing Co. Beer Dinner

  • The Heights restaurant and it's primo beer brewery are teaming up to bring diners a fantastic family-style beer dinner.
  • Foodies will get 4 courses of "masterfully crafted offerings" from Chef Lance Fegen and Sous Chef Travis Lenig, accompanied by four of Brewmaster Eric Warner’s flavorful ales and lagers. 
  • Per person $47. Seating will be limited, so reserve your spot today by calling 713-802-0533 or emailing

Friday, June 29, Doors 7 pm: Kolanowski Studio Presents Emily Baker and Kira Small
  • Showtime 8 pm. Reservations are $20 per person
  • The studio will provide hors d'oeuvres, desserts and soft drinks. Please feel free to bring your beverage of choice should you like something else.  
  • Brighton, England based Emily Baker draws from the earthy inspirations of a long line of heritage songwriters such as Carole King. In 2009, Emily won the Arts Foundation songwriting award. The fellowship, presented to her by Annie Lennox, set her on the path to create her debut album, House of Cards.
  • 420 Harvard

Thursday, June 28 from 7pm - 10pm: 2nd annual Houston Web Awards 
  • Presented by Houston Press, these awards honor the “best of the web.” Local individuals, organizations and businesses will receive a Web Award for outstanding online and social efforts. 
  • Categories include best viral video, the funniest Twitter account, and best use of Facebook by a business, plus many more.  Yours truly was a 2011 Web Award recipient for Best Neighborhood Blog!
  • Complimentary drinks will be served. Light Bites provided by Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Eatsie Boys and MMM Cupcake food trucks, with larger portions available for purchase
  • Music by DJ Dave Wrangler. 
  • Tickets: $25, but use promo code: GURU to get $5 off tickets. Purchase tickets at

  • Overture still has room for 3-5 year olds in it’s Heights area summer camp. 
  • Overture spring and summer music camps* are a playful half-day of music for preschool children age 3 to 5, potty-trained only. Parents drop off and pick up; only kids in class.  Led by a GIML-certified music development specialist. 
  • Kids handle drums, xylophone, and piano, sing, enjoy multicultural listening experiences, get individualized rhythmic and melodic pattern instruction, make musical crafts, and enjoy creative movement lessons. Includes daily snack-time.  Low student-to-teacher ratio, 8:1.  Register here 

Family music classes offered by Crescendo Family Music
  • Crescendo offers Music Together cirriculum classes, which is “a beloved early childhood music and movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them.”
  • Classes are 45-minutes long and include songs, rhythms, movement, and instrument play. Classes are informal, non-performance-oriented activities and are developmentally appropriate for children and easy for caregivers and parents even with little or no musical ability.
  • Each semester families receive two professionally recorded CDs and a songbook as part of their tuition.
  • Class time is 9:15-10am.
  • Hosted at Nia Moves, 508 Pecore St. 
  • Tuition information and registration at

I also want to welcome Raising Cane’s to the area. 
  • While I normally don’t go out and support chain restaurants, the opening crew from RC’s has been getting out and engaging the community. Not only is the new location a member of the Heights Chamber of Commerce, they also reached out to Lutheran High North Community Center at 3427 Alba Road. The team worked hard painting the facility as a service to the youth and the community at large. They also hired almost a dozen new employees from Lutheran High. I will always support businesses who support the community, so welcome to them and best of luck!
Team members from the new Raising Cane's at 3007 Ella help revitalize 
the Lutheran High North community center

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'll Miss You!

Taking a few days off! Have a good one and I'll see you next week.