Mayor Annise Parker and staff have worked tirelessly to present Houstonians with a fiscally responsible budget without a tax increase and without the layoff of public safety personnel. Houston City Council will hold a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2012 Proposed Budget on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002. To speak at the public hearing, contact the City Secretary’s office at 832.393.1100 by 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14. Houston City Council will meet at 9 a.m. on June 15, June 22, and June 29 for further discussion and consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 proposed budget. The public is welcome to observe these meetings in the City Hall Council Chamber.
For more information about the Fiscal Year 2012 proposed budget, visit www.houstontx.gov/budget.
Come downtown and join Houston in celebrating our nation's birthday from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2011. This year’s event features country music artists Jack Ingram, Chris Young and Rodney Atkins and culminates with a spectacular fireworks show that will light up the downtown skyline. For more details see www.freedomovertexas.org.
To make this year’s celebration the best yet, please help out at a booth or as a greeter. Volunteers are asked to arrive at the volunteer headquarters, 110 Sabine Street, Houston 77007, by 2:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2011. For more information download the Volunteer Information Packet at www.freedomovertexas.org. You may also apply for this volunteer opportunity at www.houstonservice.org. We look forward to seeing you on the 4th!
Please note that the Freedom Over Texas celebration will take place rain or shine, so be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather or intense heat. Water and snacks will be provided for volunteers at their posts.
“Are you ready?” That question truly demands an answer from Gulf Coast area residents who have often struggled through weather-related disasters. That’s also why there is a 15-minute DVD, titled "Are You Ready?" that is available to advise and prepare families and individuals on how to respond to and recover from the effects of any disaster. We are in hurricane season now so taking the time to be prepared is important.
The DVD contains versions in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese. It also contains captioned versions in each language and an American Sign Language version for the hearing-impaired. Area residents can view the "Are You Ready?" DVD online or order a free copy at www.readyhoustontx.gov. Along with offering the DVD, the www.readyhoustontx.gov website provides quick access to a variety of local and national information about disaster preparedness.
Make time to watch something useful for the whole family. Remember: the key to staying safe throughout the course of a hurricane is knowing what to do before and during the crisis and knowing where to turn for help. Now is the time to prepare before a storm is in our region!
Summer is here and many Houstonians are heading out of town for a vacation. The Houston Police Department (HPD) suggests you follow these tips to increase your home’s security while you’re away:
• Do not mention your travel plans or dates you’ll be gone on Facebook or Twitter
• Make your house look like it is being lived in. For example, have a neighbor check your mail and pick up your newspapers. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, arrange for someone to mow your lawn
• Before you head out, also make an inventory of all your valuables, including serial numbers and video or photo documentation (this is also good to have now that we have begun hurricane season)
For more information, call 713.308.3200 or visit http://www.houstontx.gov/police/pdfs/Burglary_Prevention_for_Homes_01-11.pdf.
To receive fast-breaking news tips, follow HPD on Twitter for tweets about road closures, events you can join and cases HPD needs assistance with. Go to www.twitter.com/houstonpolice and sign up today. And if you aren’t already a fan of HPD’s Facebook page, go to www.facebook.com/houstonpolice. For additional information see www.houstontx.gov/police.
The City of Houston is pleased to honor all refugees, and extends a heartfelt welcome to those who have come a long way and now call Houston home. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (MOIRA), along with refugee resettlement agencies and service providers, invites you to celebrate World Refugee Day (WRD) on Saturday, June 25, 2011.
Every year, there are approximately 60,000 refugees who come legally to the United States. These refugees come from all over the world, forced to leave their homes due to violence or fearing prosecution of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
To celebrate WRD, there will be a Culture Festival on Monday, June 20, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Hiram Clarke Multi-Services Center, 3810 West Fuqua, Houston 77045 sponsored by MOIRA, The Vinson Express Library and The Houston Department of Health and Human Services. On Saturday, June 25, from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center, 6500 Rookin Street, Houston 77074, various countries will be showcased through music, art, dancing, ethnic foods, children’s activities and entertainment. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information on all of the events, see http://refugeedayhouston.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com/HoustonWRD and/or Twitter Feed @WRDHouston, or contact the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at 713.778.6503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beginning July 2011, the City of Houston’s Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department will become a new quasi-public entity after Houston City Council approved the department’s consolidation with the Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation. The new combined organization will be called the Houston First Corporation and will provide the City an extra $10 million in the next fiscal year, helping to avoid further city layoffs.
Houston First will lease and manage the George R. Brown Convention Center, Wortham Theater Center, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Jones Plaza, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Theater District Parking, Sesquicentennial Park, Root Memorial Square and other municipal venues. The City will retain ownership of each facility. Mayor Annise Parker will appoint and City Council will confirm the Houston First board members, who currently serve on the Hotel Corporation board. City Council will also approve Houston First’s annual budget.
When the website launches in a few weeks, more information about these facilities will be available at www.HoustonFirst.com.
The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) has a community garden program to teach Houstonians how to grow nutritious foods and give communities a chance to harvest fruits and vegetables. HDHHS has 11 gardens at locations all across Houston. Some of the foods being grown include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, lettuce, onions, spinach and turnips, as well as herbs such as mustard and garlic. In addition to learning what is good to eat, HDHHS teaches several classes on when to plant certain crops, how to plant them, how much sun is needed and what tools and supplies to use. For more information and photos from all 11 gardens, visit www.houstontx.gov/health/Community/garden.html.
The $1 billion renovation of Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will help boost the Houston economy by creating local construction jobs during the next 7 to 10 years. The project will develop in phases as the economic conditions improve. Phase one of the renovation is projected to open in late 2013 and will enhance the customer experience at the gate areas. For more information about Terminal B’s future, visit http://www.fly2houston.com/0/3917939/0/83280D83283/. To view comments from the press conference announcing the renovation, view http://www.YouTube.com/HoustonAirports.
Hundreds of additional weekly flights are becoming available from Houston’s airports in 2011. Some of the most recent nonstop flights at IAH include United Airlines to Bakersfield, California and Montreal, Canada; Continental Airlines to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Grand Junction, Colorado; and American Airlines to Los Angeles, California. New nonstop flights at William P. Hobby Airport include AirTran Airways to Branson, Missouri and Southwest Airlines to Newark, New Jersey.
Houston’s Community Boot Camp is a half-day conference geared toward community-based organizations and individuals interested in improving their neighborhoods. It will provide Houstonians with training, resources and solutions through a combination of workshops, presentations and networking opportunities.
This year’s conference is shaping up to be one of the best! Come out to learn about positive changes taking place in neighborhoods throughout Houston. See how your area can benefit from what other communities have done and discover existing resources your neighborhood may not be taking advantage of right now. This year, the conference will include a Neighborhood of the Year Award which will be judged by attendees at the conference.
Houston’s Community Boot Camp is from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh Drive, Houston 77007 and is only $5 per person to cover the cost of the event. Early registration will be required to attend the boot camp. Registration information will follow in a separate communication or for more information contact Donald Perkins at 713.837.7803 or Donald.Perkins@houstontx.gov.