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  August 12, 2013

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents

Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
50th Anniversary of "I Have a Dream" Speech on August 28, 2013

Martin Luther KingMayor Annise Parker calls on places of worship, schools and other Houston places where any types of bells are available to join in a local bell-ringing ceremony to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Houston's official bell-ringing ceremony will occur at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, by the reflecting pool in front of Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002.

The date and time is a half century to the minute after Dr. King delivered his historic address and it coincides with a "Commemoration and Call to Action" to be held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. the same day. On August 28, 1963, Dr. King ended his speech with a call to "let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire ... from the mighty mountains of New York ... from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania ... from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado ... from the curvaceous slopes of California ... from Stone Mountain in Georgia ... from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee ... and from every hill and molehill in Mississippi."

In addition, the Houston Public Library will be hosting a special program in honor of the 50th anniversary. Dr. C. Anthony Jackson, renowned orator and a Martin Luther King Jr. impressionist, will present a reenactment of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and teen prodigy and award-winning orator Gerrá Gistand will present "If Dr. King Were Alive Today, What Would He Say?"

"I Have a Dream" - The 50th Anniversary
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Houston Public Library
Julia Ideson Building, Auditorium
550 McKinney
Houston 77002

This program is free and open to the public. For more information visit or call 832.393.1313.

Mayor Annise Parker Signs Language Access Executive Order

Language Access Signing CeremonyMayor Annise Parker signed an Executive Order (EO) on July 31, 2013, establishing a policy to improve the delivery of services to Houston's diverse population. This EO addresses the language barriers that many Houstonians and visitors may face in accessing essential public information and services in the areas of public safety, health care and economic development. The EO will work to bridge the access gap by making it easier for residents with limited English proficiency to obtain vital information such as instructions on hurricane preparedness and crime prevention, how to report emergencies and how to access health services.

The language access order calls for the translation of essential public information into five languages other than English for which there is the greatest need among Houston residents. OIC will conduct a language needs assessment, working closely with international community leaders and language experts to identify the five languages that will be adopted into the plan.

City departments that provide essential services directly to the public will develop a language access implementation plan within six months. The Office of International Communities (OIC) will oversee and coordinate the planning process.

For more information visit or call 832.393.0855.

Mayor's Proud Partner Awards
Nominations due Monday, August 19, 2013

Proud Partner Award GraphicKeep Houston Beautiful, the City of Houston's Clean City Commission, is now accepting applications for the 29th Annual Mayor's Proud Partner Awards. The deadline for entries is Monday, August 19, 2013.

If you know of a friend, family member, group or organization that deserves recognition for a beautification or clean-up event, an environmental project or program or a community improvement initiative, nominate them today!

Any program, project or individual effort, big or small, carried out and substantially completed during the last year to create a cleaner more beautiful environment is eligible for consideration.   Click to see a list of last year's Proud Partners.

Examples of eligible entries include beautification and landscaping installation, environmental education program, litter prevention, neighborhood cleanup, volunteer park improvement, murals and graffiti abatement and waste minimization efforts.

Sponsoring groups could be a business, civic organization, college or university, garden club, government agency, media entity, medical institution, nonprofit organization, religious organization, youth group or an individual.

The Mayor's Proud Partner Awards application deadline is Monday, August 19, 2013, and is available at Be sure to apply now!

Awards will be presented by Mayor Annise Parker at the annual luncheon being held on Monday, October 28, 2013 at the Hilton Americas-Houston. For more information about nominations or the luncheon, contact Keep Houston Beautiful at

Two Events Especially for Houston's Military

Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Veterans Affairs Office LogoThe City of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs invites all Active Duty military, Guard members, Reservists, veterans and eligible spouses to attend the Hiring Our Heroes/Heroes to Hometown's Transition and Benefits Job Fair on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in room 342 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida, Houston 77010. The event will take place in conjunction with the 95th Annual American Legion Convention.

Pre-registration is available online at or in-person at the fair. Veterans and service members must have proof of service ready to display at the registration table. Proof of service may be satisfied by military ID, DD Form 214, veteran retirement card, a copy of military orders or even a photo in uniform.

The First Command and United States Automobile Association sponsored hiring event is being conducted by the American Legion, Department of Labor Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Greater Houston Partnership, NBC News, Texas Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other local partners.

For more information about the City of Houston Office of Veteran Affairs, visit

Veterans Resource Fair
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The City of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs (COHOVA), together with other veterans service community partners, will host the August resource seminar on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the West End Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Boulevard, Houston 77007.

The goal of these monthly resource seminars is to give Active Duty, Reservists, Guard members, veterans and recently separated military members, as well as their families, information on city, state and federal benefits, employment and education opportunities. The event is divided into two parts: the first part is an information session where various organizations will give presentations about their mission and how veterans can become involved. The second portion is a free networking lunch which gives veterans the opportunity to seek out and learn more about programs that fit their overall needs.

In order to have an accurate count of attendees, registration is preferred online no later than Monday, August 26, 2013 at However, walk-ins are welcome.

For more information about the COHOVA, visit

Join the Houston 9/11 Heroes Run
Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Houston Airport System, Houston Fire Department, Houston Police Department and City of Houston Mayor's Office are once again honored to host the 9/11 Heroes Run. This annual 5K run will be held at Ellington Airport, on Saturday, September 7, 2013, with the opening ceremony beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the run beginning at 8 a.m.

The 9/11 Heroes Run unites communities internationally with the goal to never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of September 11 and in the wars since with special appreciation of veterans and first responders both civilian and military. This year the event will be held in 55 cities and numerous military installations around the world.

Registration for the 5K is $30 for individuals, $100 for a family of four (must include one adult and children must be under 21 years of age). Participants who register online by September 1 are guaranteed a race shirt and finisher's dog tag. Participants who register on the day of the race will be given shirts and dog tag on a first come, first served basis.

Join in the run to raise awareness and honor the fallen. For more information or to register online, visit

Houston Citizens Police Academy
Applications due Thursday, August 22, 2013

Houston Police Department LogoThe Houston Police Department (HPD) encourages citizens to enroll in the Houston Citizens Police Academy to help provide citizens with sound and accurate information about HPD and the criminal justice process so they will be prepared to make informed decisions when issues involving the police department or police activity arise.

The ten-week program is free to the public and begins Thursday, September 12 with an orientation and ends November 14 with graduation. The classes meet once a week on Thursdays from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., and most take place at the HPD Academy, 17000 Aldine Westfield Road, Houston 77070. Applicants must be 17 years of age by the application deadline, Thursday, August 22, 2013.

For details visit or call 713.308.3200. To learn more about HPD, visit

Two City of Houston Special Opportunities for Youth

City of Houston Mayor's Youth Council
Applications due Monday, September 9, 2013

Mayor Annise Parker has announced that the 2013-2014 Mayor's Youth Council is now taking applications. Interested applicants are invited to apply online at The deadline is Monday, September 9, 2013 at midnight.

Applicants must be high school students who reside in the City of Houston, are between the ages of 14 and 18 and demonstrate strong interest in gaining knowledge about city government and promoting discussion about youth-related issues.

The Mayor's Youth Council emulates the Houston City Council with a chairperson (mayor), city secretary, 11 district and five at-large council positions and their accompanying aides.

Completing the application takes approximately 30 - 45 minutes. Incomplete applications will not   be considered. The deadline is Monday, September 9, 2013 at midnight. A panel of youth and adult advisors will review the applications and invite qualified candidates for a personal interview. Decisions will be announced by mid-October.

For more information contact Katherine Price at or 832.393.0970. To learn more about the Mayor's Office of Volunteer Initiatives Program, visit

Youth Police Advisory Council
Applications due Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Houston Police Department (HPD) invites Houston area high school students to apply for the 2013 - 2014 Youth Police Advisory Council (YPAC). Students will address issues affecting youth and the community, participate in community service projects and attend youth leadership conferences throughout the state. Additionally, the YPAC meets with Chief of Police Charles A. McClelland, Jr. and other top HPD officials.

YPAC members are required to meet five times during the school year at HPD Headquarters at 1200 Travis, Houston 77002. Applications are available online at The deadline is Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

For more information visit, email or call 713.308.3200.

To learn more about HPD, visit

BARC's New Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets Spay/Neuter Initiative

BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions partnered with several pet advocate groups to launch a new targeted spay/neuter program to reduce pet overpopulation and promote pet wellness in specific areas of Houston, one neighborhood at a time. The initiative, called Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets, offers free spay/neuter and wellness services (including a rabies vaccination, microchip, one-year pet license and flea medication) to pets in neighborhoods with a large number of stray animals and dog bite complaints.

The pilot effort took place on Saturday, July 13, 2013, in the Near Northside community where the  Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) provided the services onsite in their mobile facility. BARC and Friends For Life provided transportation for animals in the specified area to the Pasadena SNAP clinic for the services on July 13, July 17 and July 25. The group plans to return to the area on Saturday, August 24, 2013. So far, 68 dogs and cats in the area have received free spay/neuter surgery and wellness services through the program.

The group will continue returning to the area until every pet owner has been notified and given ample opportunity to get the free spay/neuter and wellness services for their pets. Then, the coalition will move to another area that faces stray animal problems to provide the free services.

This new project is a comprehensive quality of life improvement for both the pets and the people living in the impacted areas. The initiative is going to be a game-changer in many Houston neighborhoods. Visit to learn more about the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets initiative and to view the partners involved in the pilot effort.

BARC Photo

Sunbeam Depository and Recycling Center
Closed One Year for Renovation

On Thursday, August 1, 2013, the Sunbeam Depository and Recycling Center, 5100 Sunbeam, Houston 77033, closed temporarily for approximately one year to allow for renovations and updates.

There are currently five other locations throughout the city where Houston residents can take their recyclable materials, tree waste, tires and junk waste items, such as furniture and appliances, for proper handling:

North 9003 N. Main, 77093 713.694.8435
Northwest 14400 Sommermeyer, 77041 713.895.1002
Northeast 5565 Kirkpatrick, 77028 713.675.3208
Southeast 2240 Central Street, 77017 713.847.1188
Southwest 10785 SW Freeway, 77074 713.541.1953

These facilities are open Wednesday through Sunday, except for city approved holidays. Hours of operations are:

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Daylight Savings Time)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Non-Daylight Savings Time)

For questions contact Marlene Garcia at or 713.837.9114.

To learn more about the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD), visit

For more frequent updates and information, like SWMD on Facebook at or follow on Twitter

Apply Now for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

Does someone you know suffer from hearing and vision loss? If so, he/she may be eligible for technology that facilitates connection with family, friends and community. For those who qualify, technology equipment, installation training and technical support are available for free.

iCanConnect promotes the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which aims to get technology into the hands of low-income Americans who have combined hearing and vision loss. The federal program provides Braille devices, computers, mobile devices, phones and signalers to eligible citizens. To qualify, individuals must meet income guidelines and be able to be trained to use adaptive technology.

To learn more about the program, make a referral, apply for eligibility or assess your needs, visit or call 1.800.825.4595 (TTY: 1.888.320.2656).

For more information about the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, visit, email or call 832.394.0814.

iCanConnect Logo

The City Hall Farmers Market Returns Wednesday, September 18

After a summer break, the City Hall Farmers Market, in front of Houston's City Hall at 901 Bagby, Houston 77002, crops up again on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. Market hours are Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Houstonians can enjoy a variety of locally prepared foods ready-to-eat or packaged to go for lunch as well as pick up groceries. The market showcases more than 35 micro businesses, including produce farmers, cheese makers, coffee roasters and baristas, bakers, prepared food vendors and food trucks, olive oil producers and more. The market also boasts live music and a Chef's Corner, which hosts Houston's top culinary talent preparing and serving samples of dishes made with market products.

Downtown dwellers and employees are encouraged to walk to the market, ride in from one of Houston's 21 other new B-cycles, Houston's growing bike share program, or use Greenlink, a free downtown shuttle bus, with downtown stop pick-ups every 7-10 minutes.

Those coming from outside of downtown can select metered street parking; or garage parking at the Tranquility Park garage (400 Rusk, Houston 77002) - $3 for up to one hour, $6 for 1 to 2 hours; or Hobby Center (800 Bagby, Houston 77002) - $2 per hour (with maximum of $10) on days without Hobby Center events.

The City Hall Farmers Market is wheelchair-accessible, and an ATM machine is conveniently located on-site. For more information contact Baker Goldsmith at, visit or follow Facebook and Twitter.

City Hall Farmers Market Sponsors

Historic Preservation Manual: A Guide to Preserving Historic Districts

The City of Houston now offers a Historic Preservation manual online to help homeowners understand the rules and requirements relating to construction in historic districts and for landmarks or protected landmarks.

The manual provides provides information about how to navigate the Certificate of Appropriateness process and the criteria used to evaluate and approve renovation projects. It also provides guidance on how to designate, maintain or modify a landmark. Visit

In addition, users are able to learn about the City of Houston's historic districts through maps, photos and/or sketches. The manual provides an overview of the defining historic characteristics of each neighborhood.

While the manual is a useful road map for understanding and obtaining the required approvals to make changes to historic properties, homeowners and professionals are still encouraged to consult with the City's Historic Preservation staff early in the planning process to ensure consistent historic property stewardship. For more information about historic preservation, email or call 713.837.7963.

Urban Houston Framework Study Results

Results are in for the Urban Houston Framework study. The Framework is intended to guide in the development of vibrant live/work/play environments, specifically urban centers. It will help shape policies, tools and incentives to encourage responsible, sustainable development.

The following issues were identified as key elements to improve in Houston:

  • Better connections between destinations in the city
  • Better coordination of land development standards with transportation investments and related regulations
  • Elimination of food deserts where they may currently exist
  • Mix of housing choices at every price point
  • More walkable and bikeable areas with a balance of housing, jobs and transportation choices

To read the full report, visit For more information about City of Houston Mobility Planning, email or call 713.837.7701.

Houston Poet Laureate Leads Poetry Workshops

Poet Laureate GraphicHouston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda will conduct a series of two-hour workshops for poetry beginners ages 13 and up. Each workshop will consist of selected readings and then several writing exercises. The sessions are designed to enable even the least experienced writers to complete more than one original poem. The remaining workshops are:

Setting the Mood: Exercises in Tone
Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 6 - 8 p.m.

Making It Flow: Exercises in Rhythm
Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 6 - 8 p.m.

Pro Tools: Working with Forms
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6 - 8 p.m.

All workshops will be held at the Central Library, 500 McKinney Street, Houston 77002. These events are free and open to the public. For more information visit or call 832.393.1313.

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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