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August 26, 2013

Houston's Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hurricane Preparedness: Register for STEAR
Back to School Safety
Free After School Meals
Free METRO Rides Labor Day Weekend

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

Martin Luther King speechMayor 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 at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 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 ceremony will be begin at 1:30 p.m. and the bell-ringing ceremony will occur at 2 p.m., all by the reflecting pool in front of Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002.

Ceremony participants include Mayor Annise Parker, Pastor DZ Cofield, Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church and Emcee, Dr. Thomas Freeman, Texas Southern University (TSU), Professor of Psychology and Philosophy and Texas TSU Debate Team Coach, Reverend Joseph Mayes, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church,Milby High School JROTC Color Guard, TSU Debate Team and Rabbi Amy Weiss, Founder and Executive Director, Initiative for Jewish Women.

Houstonians are encouraged to commemorate the day by coming to City Hall or in any other way to remember Dr. King's message of "Let Freedom Ring."

Houstonians are Urged to Sign up for Hurricane Emergency Assistance

As Houston approaches the most active part of hurricane season, the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) would like Houston residents who may need additional assistance during an emergency to register for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR).

Originally called the Transportation Assistance Registry (TAR), STEAR is intended to help emergency planners and first responders help those who may need additional assistance during a disaster. Residents who do not have access to the necessary transportation to evacuate themselves, who rely on electricity for medical needs or who have a disability should register with the STEAR today to make sure that first responders know where they are and what they need if disaster strikes.

There are three ways Houston residents can register for STEAR:

  • Call 2-1-1: A trained operator will take your information
  • Visit Register using an online form
  • Use a paper form: Download the paper form and fax or email it to the United Way to the number or email address listed on the form

If you have registered for the TAR in the past, it is important to re-register with STEAR, as these lists are cleared every January. For more information on the STEAR program or how to register contact OEM by by email at, by phone at 713.884.4500 or visit

Office of Emergency Management logos

Back to School Safety

The Houston Police Department (HPD) reminds everyone that summer vacation is drawing to a close and children will be going back to school, most of them on Monday, August 26, 2013.

HPD reminds all motorists to pay attention when driving through school zones. Officers will be out in school zones enforcing the speed limits. Anytime you see a school bus, use extra caution since children may dart out into traffic either getting on or off the bus. For some of these children, it is their first time going to school and may not be familiar with guidelines they should follow.

Motorists can receive significant fines for speeding through school zones or passing a school bus with flashing lights. Speeding citations in a school zone can result in a $220 fine.

Safety tips for parents and children include:

  1. Children should not talk to strangers. Advise children how to handle a situation in which someone attempts to lure them with prizes or tries to abduct them
  2. Be aware of potential problems that can arise when children are home by themselves
  3. Teach children bicycle safety tips while riding to and from school
  4. Find qualified caregivers for children before and after school care

For more Back to School Safety information, visit To learn more about HPD, visit

Free After School Meal Program for Houston Youth Ages 1 - 18

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) will administer the After School Meal Program beginning Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - Friday, May 16, 2014. Children ages 1 - 18 who are taking part in an HPARD program at any of 47 HPARD community centers and five independent locations can receive a free snack and meal. Snacks will be available Monday through Friday 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., and supper will be served 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. to the children participating in HPARD activities at the designated locations and during the specific times.

Funding, administration and support for the After School Meals Program comes from the federal and state governments and grants from several organizations.

The at-risk after school meals component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service and is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Division. In accordance with federal law and USDA policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

The City of Houston's After School Meal Program is part of a multi-year initiative to reduce youth hunger and is supported in part by the Wal-Mart Foundation and coordinated by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families, CHAMPS initiative in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center. Grant funds are also provided by UnitedHealthCare in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

For After School Meal Program locations, visit Any questions about the Program, email or call 832.395.7284.

For more information on HPARD, visit or email

Free METRO Light-Rail and Local Bus Service Labor Day Weekend

METRO is offering free light-rail and local bus service on Labor Day weekend, Saturday, August 31 - Monday, September 2, 2013. From the Museum District to shopping, your holiday destinations are just a stop away. Get on board and ride free this Labor Day weekend.

For questions email or call METRO customer service at 713.635.4000. To learn more about METRO, visit

METRO Labor Day Weekend Schedule

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Mailing Address:  City of Houston | P.O. Box 1562 | Houston, Texas 77251
City Hall Address:  City of Houston | 901 Bagby | Houston, Texas 77002

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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