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  June 12, 2013

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents

Celebrate July 4th at Southwest Airlines® Freedom Over Texas
Featuring Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride Presented by NRG
Buy Your Tickets Now!

Freedom Over Texas LogoJoin Houstonians in celebration of our nation's birthday on Thursday, July 4, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley Park, 500 Allen Parkway, Houston 77002.

Southwest Airlines Freedom Over Texas will feature music stars Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride, presented by NRG on the Freedom Stage, and culminate with a spectacular fireworks display sure to light up the downtown skyline.

There is so much to see including an M-60 tank at the "Symbols of Freedom" exhibit in KBR Liberty Park, which will include an M-60 tank. There will be an opportunity to test your agility and athleticism at the KBR Command Course Challenge. Enjoy free family-friendly rides, games and educational activities in the Walmart All-American Kids Zone. And don't forget to "cool off" with a cold one in the Bud Light All-American Beer Garden while watching the Texas Volleyball Championship Series Finals. For more details visit

Purchase pre-sale tickets while they are still only $5 per person. This rate will remain through Saturday, June 15, and is currently available online at Starting Sunday, June 16, general admission will be $8 per person. All children five and under get in free.

Help is needed to make this year's celebration the best yet! Volunteers may attend the celebration for free and receive free parking, shirt, refreshments and more! Sign up now at

Like the Freedom Over Texas Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @FreedomOverTX for event updates and giveaways. #FreedomOverTexas

Mayor Annise Parker Schedules Second Make Safe Saturday
June 15 Neighborhood Cleanups Target Properties with City Code Violations

The City of Houston's second Make Safe Saturday is Saturday, June 15, 2013, at various sites throughout the city. Launched in March 2013, Make Safe Saturday is a quarterly neighborhood cleanup initiative that targets properties with city code violations for which the owners have received notices and have failed to take action to correct the problems. Many such properties are not only neighborhood eyesores but also often serve as havens for crime.

Mayer Parker PictureCity crews will clean up a total of 55 blighted properties as a part of this quarter's effort. The work will include the removal of trash and debris, boarding up of abandoned properties, graffiti abatement and mowing. The projects will be completed by mid-July.

Make Safe Saturday is an initiative of Inspections and Public Service (IPS), a division of the City's Department of Neighborhoods (DON). The third Make Safe Saturday is scheduled for September 2013. Donations of supplies and materials by local businesses are welcome. For more information about this initiative, contact Andrea Jackson-Taylor at or 832.394.0660.

To learn more about IPS, visit For information about DON, visit

Summer Recreation Programs Offered by the Houston
Parks and Recreation Department

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) offers summer programs for all ages and interests! Many are free or low cost. Team fees apply for participation in adult sports leagues. The Summer Activities Guide and Class Catalog has information on these programs and more, and is available at all HPARD community centers as well as online at

Youth Programs:
Summer Food Service Program
June 10 - August 23, 2013. Free. Information: 713.676.6832 and/or 211
Summer Enrichment Program
June 3 - August 9, 2013. Information: 832.395.7270

Junior Golf Swimming Pool
Ongoing. Free. Information: 832.395.7300
Youth Tennis
June 10 - July 3, 2013, and July 8 - August 1, 2013
Free. Information: 713.803.1112
Youth Water Fitness
June 4 - August 9, 2013
Free. Information: 832.395.7274

Adaptive Recreation:
Adaptive Aquatics, Paralympic Military Program, Wheelchair Sports and other programs
Year-round. Information: 832.395.7333

Adult Sports Leagues and Fitness Activities:
Sports Leagues
Dates, team fees and location information: 832.395.7130
Adult Water Fitness
June 4 - August 9, 2013
Free. Information: 832.395.7274
Adult Fitness and Aerobics
Year-round. Free. Contact a community center or fitness center near you for information.
Senior Crafts, Activities and Classes
Year-round. Free or low fee. Contact a community center near you for information.

For more information about HPARD, visit, email or call 832.395.7000.

New Development Rules Could Affect Your Community
Learn How Neighborhoods Can Apply for Tools to Retain their Residential Character

Recent changes to the City of Houston's development rules allow developers to build additional housing on smaller lots than are typically found in most suburban-style neighborhoods. This will increase the availability of housing in the city and provide residents with more housing options. However, if your neighborhood is residential and you would like to retain its larger lot character, there are now tools available to help.

Property owners can apply for a Special Minimum Lot Size Area designation, which prevents lots from being divided below a certain size established by a calculation of the lots already in the neighborhood. This prevents existing lots from being split into smaller sized lots such as those in townhome developments. If your deed restrictions either establish a minimum lot size or prevent the further subdivision of lots, then you are already protected and don't need to apply.

If your area does not qualify, look at similar rules that establish a Special Minimum Lot Size or Special Building Line (setback) for your specific block - either one side of the block or both sides from one street intersection to the next intersection.

To help determine if your area qualifies, contact Kevin Calfee in the Planning and Development (P&D) Department at or call 713.837.7701. For more information, visit To learn more about P&D, visit

TweetMyJobs Houston! Has Arrived

TweetMyJobs Houston!, a free online platform that connects job seekers and local employers throughout Houston, was launched in April 2013 by Mayor Annise Parker and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). The TweetMyJobs Houston! platform revolutionizes recruitment by incorporating mobile and social media to assist job seekers and small and medium-sized businesses.

To date more than 16,000 job seekers have signed up, over 350 local businesses have registered with the platform and more than 150,000 jobs are currently available in the Houston metro area.

Small and medium-sized businesses in our region are taking advantage of this unique platform, which allows employers to connect directly with qualified candidates through social media. For job seekers, TweetMyJobs Houston! provides access to relevant opportunities instantly and directly and even allows for text notifications so new opportunities are brought to job seekers' attention right away.

Houston's partnership with TweetMyJobs also provides a tremendous amount of insight into our city's local employment needs and job creation. TweetMyJobs Houston! will enhance future job growth in the Houston metro area by providing a breakdown of current job trends and activities specific to Houston that will help influence executive decisions by government and business entities.

Are you a business owner currently looking to hire? Or are you a job seeker in need of a new job? We urge prospective employers and employees alike to sign up today at To learn more about OBO, visit

Tweet My Jobs Houston

Home Burglary Prevention Tips from the Houston Police Department

Whether leaving for the day, a week, a month or just a few hours, the Houston Police Department (HPD) suggests a few precautionary measures to make your home as burglar-proof as possible.

Many intruders enter through weak doors. Having strong doors and doorframes, including garage doors, is essential to your security. Steel doors and frames provide good security because they are harder to destroy. If you have hollow-core doors, it is recommended that you replace them with a sturdier type. There are wooden doors being manufactured to withstand a tremendous amount of pressure from would-be burglars.

Make sure to secure windows. Sliding glass doors can be secured with a locking device placed along the track. A broomstick or a wooden rod may work just as well if placed on the track between the doorframe and the door. Glass sliding doors are usually secluded from public view and special care must be taken to secure them. Bolt locks can be installed to help prevent the door from being opened or removed from its track.

Burglaries can occur when you are out during the daytime as well as just before dark. Burglars will sometimes log your departure and arrival times from and to your home. Here are some tips to help ruin their plot:

  • Install lights in areas around doors, walkways and driveways and put them on a timer to turn off at dawn.
  • Put a padlock on your fence and choose a reputable alarm company to protect your home.
  • When traveling, keep your home looking occupied - have someone cut your grass and pick up your mail and newspapers.
  • Put lights on a timer or have a neighbor turn your lights on and off.
  • Keep a current inventory of all your valuables. Include photos or video, and all serial numbers of all electronic equipment.
  • Secure any cash or jewelry left behind in a bonded storage unit.
  • Don't publicize your travel plans and the dates that you will be away from your home or provide updates during your vacation on Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media.
  • Lastly, get to know your neighbors and report any suspicious activity immediately. Protect not only your own home, but also your neighbors' home and property.

For more information on home burglary prevention tips, visit to view a YouTube video HPD crime prevention specialists made on protecting your home. To learn more about HPD, visit and/or call the HPD Public Affairs Office at 713.308.3200.

Look Before You Lock: Keep Children Safe from the Heat

Loook before you lock flyerMore than 550 children have perished in the United States since 1998 due to being left or trapped in vehicles. From 2009 - 2011, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) responded to nearly 100 children under 8 years old left in cars. More than 50 percent of these children are simply "forgotten" by their caregiver. The temperatures in a car, especially during the Houston summer months, can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes.

City of Houston Emergency Medicine Physician Director/Public Health Authority Dr. David E. Persse, cautions that if a child is trapped inside a car, it can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, leading to permanent disability or death in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, can cause shock, seizures, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and damage to the brain, liver and kidneys.

In an effort to alert drivers to the dangers of leaving children locked in cars, HFD, State Farm Insurance, Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) and The Woman's Hospital of Texas (Woman's) have teamed together for a new safety campaign - "Look Before You Lock." To remind drivers to be aware of their passengers, this important message will be posted in shopping malls in the Houston area during June, and new parents at TCH and Woman's will be given rear-view mirror hangers to remind them to "Look Before You Lock!"

For all drivers it is recommended to place a computer, phone, purse or wallet in the back seat as a reminder that there is a child in the car. Statistics also indicate that about 30 percent of injuries are due to children playing in an unattended vehicle and nearly 20 percent are due to caregivers intentionally leaving their children in the vehicle.

If anyone sees an unattended child in a car, call 911 and stay until help arrives. To learn more about HFD, visit

New Flights and Summer Travel Begins at Houston's Airports

New flights and summer travel are arriving at William P. Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) Airports.

airplane photoHobby Airport
On June 2, 2013, Southwest Airlines launched two daily nonstop flights to New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and daily service to Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS). AirTran Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, began daily nonstop service to Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Florida also on June 2, 2013. Southwest Airlines has also announced plans to add nonstop flights to Pensacola, Florida, beginning on November 3, 2013.

Bush Intercontinental Airport
On June 13, 2013, Spirit Airlines begins daily nonstop service to Denver International Airport (DEN) and Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). American Airlines began nonstop daily service to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on April 2, 2013.

Summer Travel
June begins the summer travel season and the airports are expecting lots of travelers with families. To get some tips on traveling to and through the airports, visit

For more information about Houston Airports, visit

BARC's Second Annual Bow Wow Meow Luau Mega Pet Adoption Event
Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at CITYCENTRE

luau flyerLooking to add a new furry friend to your family? BARC is gearing up for its Second Annual Bow Wow Meow Luau mega adoption event where more than 80 dogs, puppies, cats and kittens will be available for adoption. The event will take place on Saturday, June 29, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Houston's CITYCENTRE located at 822 Town and Country Boulevard, Houston 77024 directly under Studio Movie Grill. Choose the adoption option. Adopt at BARC.

Visit to get more information about BARC's adoption fees and requirements. If you are unable to permanently adopt a pet but would like to help animals in need, BARC encourages you to consider becoming a volunteer or foster pet parent. For more information visit or

Hurricane Pet Preparedness
It is officially hurricane season and according to weather experts this season could be a busy one. Have you considered what your plan is for your pet if disaster strikes? BARC has developed a list of important tips on what to include in a pet emergency supply kit and things to consider before a disaster. Visit BARC's website for more information and a printable pet disaster preparedness brochure.

Contact Taran Hutchins, BARC's Adoptions Coordinator at with any questions.

2013 National Reuse Contest Building Competition

reuse logoThe City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department (SWD) Reuse Warehouse is coordinating Houston's participation in the 2013 National Reuse Contest, sponsored by The Reuse People (TRP). Projects built primarily of used building materials and completed within the year are eligible for submission. TRP will award gift certificates of $1,000, $500 and $250 to the first, second and third place winners of the National Contest, redeemable at a local reuse store to be determined, and will display annotated photos of the winning entries at various green building shows and expositions throughout the year.

Houston entries, received by the August 31, 2013 deadline, will be judged by Mayor Annise Parker, businessman and philanthropist Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale and Dan Phillips of the Phoenix Commotion. The three winners, announced September 30, 2013, will automatically be entered in the national contest. TRP will select the national first, second and third place winners on October 30, 2013.

Individuals in the greater Houston area interested in competing are requested to email a photo of their project to Reuse Warehouse Manager Keith Koski at For a complete list of rules and participating stores and to see photos of previous contest winners, visit

The Building Materials Reuse Warehouse,, benefits the Houston community by providing space for excess building materials that would otherwise be dumped in local landfills. Material is accepted from individuals, supply companies and builders, and is made freely available for reuse by any non-profit organization. The Reuse Warehouse is funded in part by a grant from the Houston Galveston Area Council, a region-wide voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning region of Texas.

The Reuse People of America is part of one of the fastest-growing segments of the green building movement providing employment, volunteer opportunities and collaboration in deconstruction, building-materials salvage and sales. In addition, TRP offers deconstruction training programs and "best practices" consulting through The ReUse Institute. For more information, visit

For questions and more information about the 2013 National Reuse Contest Building Competition, contact Sandra Jackson at or 713.837.9164 or Keith Koski at or 281.814.3324.

To learn more about recycling and sustainability in the City of Houston, visit,, on Facebook at and on Twitter @houstontrash.

Apply for the Americorps Texas Literacy Initiative

Houston Center for Literacy (HCL), a partnership with the Houston Public Library, is now accepting applications for the AmeriCorps Texas Family Literacy Initiative. Those accepted into the Americorps program will receive a stipend of $12,100 over 11 months, basic health insurance, professional development and various certifications. Applicants must have a four-year degree to apply.

AmeriCorps service members who complete the 1,700 hour commitment will also receive a $5,500 educational award that can be used to defray student loan debt or pay for further education.

The application deadline is Thursday, August 5, 2013. For more information visit or email Jenn Char, City of Houston Director of External Affairs at


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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 • Dave Martin • 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