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  April 19, 2012

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents


"Love Your Block" New Grant Program Supports Street Block Revitalization
Application Due May 11, 2012

Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for "Love Your Block" grants to support volunteer-led street block revitalization projects. The grants will support 20 projects that revitalize green spaces, transform blighted areas and advocate for quality open space.

Those selected for the grants will receive a $500 gift card from Home Depot to purchase supplies and equipment necessary to implement the projects. City of Houston community partner Keep Houston Beautiful will support the projects by providing supplies, tools and other resources to offset costs. A grants review committee will provide guidance to align funded projects with existing city priorities.

The grant application deadline is Friday, May 11, 2012. Applicant groups must have nonprofit status. Eligible groups include block, neighborhood and tenant associations as well as community garden clubs and religious-based organizations. Grantees will be notified on Friday, May 25, 2012. Funded projects must be completed between June 1 and December 31, 2012.

To apply for a "Love Your Block" grant, visit www.HoustonSERVICE.org. For more information, email LoveYourBlock@houstontx.gov or call 832.393.0971. The new grant program is part of Houston SERVICE under the Mayor's Volunteer Initiatives Program in the Department of Neighborhoods www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods.


City of Houston Launches Bike Share Pilot Program
B-cycles Available Downtown Beginning May 2, 2012

Beginning Wednesday, May 2, 2012, Houston will be one of only 15 U.S. cities to launch a bike share program to make getting around downtown a whole lot easier. The bike share program, known as Houston B-cycle, is perfect for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive.

Houston's initial phase will include three stations and 18 bikes and will demonstrate the potential of bike share in Houston. Houston B-cycle will initially be available at City Hall, the George R. Brown Convention Center and Market Square Park. The self-service bike B-Cycle Station will be available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Bikes can be checked out during these hours and dropped back off at the same location or any other B-cycle station. The bikes can be ridden anywhere and locked up even if no kiosk is available.

Houston B-cycle is a membership-driven bike share system requiring a minimum age of 18 to join. Memberships are available by day, week or year. All members have unlimited access to the bikes. With a paid membership, the first 90 minutes are free. All memberships start at the time of your first bike use, not the day and time you purchased the membership. Riders are encouraged to wear their own helmets.

Houston's program will be managed and operated by the nonprofit Houston Bike Share, which has the mission to implement, expand and operate a Houston-based bike share program that will be environmentally friendly, financially sustainable and affordable. For the first year of the pilot program, Bike Barn will donate maintenance for the B-Cycle Stations and Bikes. The program is sponsored by the City of Houston, Bike Barn, BikeHouston, Downtown District and Houston First Corporation.

For more information, memberships and maps visit www.bcycle.com, email Lisa Lin at lisa.lin@houstontx.gov or call 832.393.0850.


Join Nationwide Water and Energy Saving Contest
Prizes for Pledging to Save Water

Waterworks LogoMayor Annise Parker is joining mayors across the country in asking Houston residents to make a commitment to conserve water, reduce pollution and save energy. The National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation is a nonprofit national community service competition developed by the Wyland Foundation encouraging residents to make online pledges to reduce water and energy usage. The city with the highest percentage of residents taking the challenge in their region and category wins. The contest runs through Monday, April 30, 2012. Take the pledge now at www.mywaterpledge.com.

Green Houston LogoIn return for participation, Houstonians could win a new Toyota Prius Hybrid, water saving fixtures and hundreds of other prizes. Most importantly, participants will see savings in their water and energy use. Everyone is encouraged to share what they learn about conservation with their neighbors and community in order to save our water and energy resources and increase cost-savings at home.

For more Challenge information contact waterworks@houstontx.gov or visit www.publicworks.houstontx.gov. To learn more about the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, visit www.greenhoustontx.gov.


Free Document Shredding for Individual Houston Residents
Begins Saturday, April 28, 2012

To improve services, safety and the quality of life for all Houstonians, the City of Houston, in partnership with Data Shredding Services of Texas, Inc., will offer free document shredding services to individual Houston residents once a month at different locations throughout the city. The Houston Police Department (HPD) will be on hand to provide residents with information on identity theft prevention. Data Shredding Services of Texas will provide shredding equipment to safely and ethically destroy sensitive documents.

The first five events are listed below:

Saturday, April 28, 2012
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
HPD Westside Station
3203 South Dairy Ashford
Houston 77082

Saturday, May 19, 2012
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
HPD North Station
9455 West Montgomery Road
Houston 77088

Saturday, June 23, 2012
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Kingwood Metro Park and Ride
3210 West Lake Houston Parkway
Kingwood 77339

Saturday, July 28, 2012
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
HPD Eastside Station
7525 Sherman Houston 77012

Saturday, August 11, 2012
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
HPD Clear Lake Station
2855 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston 77058

For more information contact Cecilia Ortiz in the Mayor's Citizens' Assistance Office at cecilia.ortiz@houstontx.gov or call 832.393.0955. To learn more about the Department of Neighborhoods, visit www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods. To learn more about HPD visit www.houstonpolice.org.


Summer Strikes Back: Third Annual Houston Public Library Children's Book Celebration
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Books CelebrationChildren of all ages are invited to enjoy fun and exciting activities scheduled for the Houston Public Library's Summer Strikes Back Third Annual Children's Book Celebration, Saturday, May 5, 2012, at the Central Library 500 McKinney, Houston 77002.

There will be a full day of whimsical performances, hands-on arts and crafts activities and other special events.The highlight of the celebration is the appearance of Tom Angleberger, the 2011-2012 recipient of the Texas Bluebonnet Award for his book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

Storm Troopers and Darth Vader may invade the library throughout the day ... be prepared to face the Dark Side!

Schedule of Events:

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Author Presentation | Program Place - 4th Floor
Large group event and book signing with author Tom Angleberger
12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Mad Science of Houston | Concourse Meeting Room
Arts and Crafts and Origami
1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Fencing Academy Demonstration | Program Place - 4th Floor Alliance
Coach Andrey Geva has produced 23 USA National Champions and American Cup Winners. Enjoy an electronic fencing demonstration by Andrey and his students and imagine yourself in the midst of a light saber battle!
2:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Crocodile Encounter | Program Place - 4th Floor
Like Yoda, crocodiles live in the swamp. Today you can meet these and other reptiles face to face!

For more information about the Celebration visit www.houstonlibrary.org/celebration-activities or call 832.393.1313. To learn more about HPL visit www.houstonlibrary.org.


Houston Public Library El Día de los Niños Celebration
Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dia CelebrationCelebrate books, cultures and languages with crafts, food, music and storytelling as El Día de los Niños festivities bloom on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at HPL (Houston Public Library) Express at Discovery Green 1500 McKinney, Houston 77010. Meet beloved author Pat Mora, founder of Día, and visit with popular guest authors Xavier Garza and Gwendolyn Zepeda!


Schedule of Events:

Dia Logos10 a.m. - Welcome!
10:15 a.m. - Pat Mora introduces Día de los niños / Día de los libros and her picture book, The Desert Is My Mother / El desierto es mi madre
10:45 a.m. - Handout Día bookmarks, pins and pan dulce!
11:15 a.m. - Gwendolyn Zepeda reads from her book Sunflowers / Girasoles
11:35 a.m. - Gardening activity for kids
12:15 p.m. - Xavier Garza reads from Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories
12:35 p.m. - Coloring lucha libre (wrestling) masks activity for kids
12:50 p.m. - Book and balloon giveaway

For more information visit www.houstonlibrary.org/dia-at-discovery or call 832.393.1313. To learn more about HPL, visit www.houstonlibrary.org.


May is "Child Safety Starts with YOU" Month

Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston Police Department (HPD), in partnership with the Greater Houston Loss Prevention Association (GHLPA comprised of Fiesta, H-E-B, Kroger, Randalls, Target, Walgreens and Walmart), will kick off "Child Safety Starts with YOU" month at a free public event on Tuesday, April 30, 2012, 10 a.m., at H-E-B, 1701 West Alabama, Houston 77098. A Heat Van will be present to demonstrate the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car during the summer months.

Throughout the month of May, GHLPA retailers will stage events at their stores to educate families about child safety.

Some general child safety tips to keep in mind throughout the year include:

  • Never leave a child in an unattended vehicle. Temperatures can quickly reach 125 degrees in minutes and auto theft is always a possibility when a child is left in a running vehicle.
  • When taking your child to a store, never leave your child alone or unattended. Hold your child's hand when walking through the parking lot and always use the shopping cart seat belt.
  • Keep prescription drugs out of reach of children in the home and properly dispose of old or unneeded medications.
  • If you find your child missing, react quickly and calmly. Provide a description of the child to the nearest store manager. Teach your child their phone number and your name and instruct your child to go to the nearest cashier if they become separated from you.

For more information on child safety, visit www.houstonpolice.org.


National Police Week May 14 - 18, 2012

Police Department LogoThe Houston Police Department (HPD) will observe National Police Week May 14 - 18, 2012, by hosting a series of public events to honor and recognize the men and women in blue who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve our city. This special week is a way for citizens to increase their awareness of the role of police officers in their communities. Everyone is urged to participate.

On Wednesday, May 16, at 10 a.m., HPD will host a Day of Prayer in front of HPD Headquarters at 1200 Travis, Houston 77002. On Friday, May 18, at 7 p.m., the annual HPD Memorial Service will be held at the Houston Police Officers Memorial, 2400 Memorial Drive, Houston 77007.

Visit the HPD Museum, located in the lobby of HPD Headquarters at 1200 Travis, Houston 77002, to discover the history of Houston police. It is free and open to the public. To learn more about the museum, visit www.houstontx.gov/police/museum and for more information about HPD, visit www.houstonpolice.org.

For HPD news, valuable community updates and information on wanted suspects, like the HPD Facebook page at www.facebook.com/houstonpolice and follow on @houstonpolice Twitter. Also, subscribe to HPD's monthly podcast at www.houstonpolice.org by clicking on the HPD Reports Podcast or download it directly from iTunes. For the latest HPD videos subscribe to HPD's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/houstonpolicedept/feed.


HobbyFest at Hobby Airport
Saturday, April 21, 2012

HobbyFestFamily Fun is landing at Hobby Airport with a list of exciting events as long as a runway! Join the fun on Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 8402 Nelms Street, Houston 77061. There will be rodeo clowns, country western singers, a line dance team, a balloon artist, Mad Science exhibit, moonwalks, face painting and so much more.

Once you arrive, follow the "Special Events" signs for parking. Also, don't forget to enter for your chance to win great prizes including airline tickets, Houston Astros tickets and gift certificates to various Houston businesses. Admission is free with five new/unused pencils or pens per person benefitting The Pencil Project www.thepencilproject.com.

For more information about HobbyFest visit www.fly2houston.com/HobbyFest or contact Gabrielle Dirden at Gabrielle.Dirden@houstontx.gov. For more information about Houston Airports visit www.fly2houston.com.


My City Maps and Apps: Your Geographic Portal to City Information

My City LogoHoustonians now have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips through a new dynamic online portal for data and geographic information with My City Maps and Apps. My City can be found online at http://mycity.houstontx.gov/home/ or from the City of Houston homepage at www.houstontx.gov.

My City can provide insight into evacuation routes, flood information, land use and planned improvements. Citizens can access mapped information such as aerial imagery, council districts, parcel addresses, permitting, street maps, utility services and much more. Additionally through My City, citizens can find their heavy trash pick-up schedules and view crime data in their neighborhood.

My City is a service of the Houston Planning and Development Department. For more information visit www.houstontx.gov/planning.


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Mailing Address:  City of Houston | P.O. Box 1562 | Houston, Texas 77251
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Council Members: Helena Brown • Jerry Davis • Ellen R. Cohen • Wanda Adams • Mike Sullivan • Al Hoang • Oliver Pennington • Edward Gonzalez • James G. Rodriguez • Mike Laster • Larry V. Green • Stephen C. Costello • Andrew C. Burks, Jr. • Melissa Noriega • C.O. “Brad” Bradford • Jack Christie
Controller: Ronald C. Green