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  September 21, 2011

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents

Temporary Burn Ban and Safety Tips during the Drought

Mayor Annise Parker has extended the City of Houston's temporary burn ban to include smoking in City parks. The smoking ban applies to lighted cigars, cigarettes, pipes or any other device used for the burning of tobacco or other smoking materials. The ban continues to apply to the use of barbecue grills and all other outdoor burning in City parks during the ongoing drought. Violations carry fines of up to $2,000 per offense.

The Houston Fire Department recommends the following safety tips during this drought:

  • Carelessly discarded cigarettes or other smoking materials can smolder for hours and should be completely doused with water before being discarded in a safe manner, rather than tossed out a window or on the ground.
  • When using barbecue pits and grills, never leave them unattended, keep water or a fire extinguisher handy and place hot coals and ash in a non-combustible container until cooled or thoroughly saturated with water, before being disposed.
  • Park vehicles so that the exhaust system does not come in contact with dry grass, leaves or weeds and adjust the safety chains on trailers to ensure they don't drag and create sparks that can cause roadside fires.
  • Notify the power company when dead trees or overhanging limbs endanger electric wires. The wires may touch each other or the ground, causing sparks that start fires.

For more safety tips see

Mandatory Water Conservation

Water Faucet DrippingHouston's drought is forcing us all to examine how we use water daily. Mandatory water restrictions still in place are designed to help maintain adequate water supply and pressure in our system for consumption and fire protection. Even-numbered addresses may water lawns only on Sundays and Thursdays; odd-numbered addresses may water lawns only on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Irrigation times are restricted to the hours between 12:01 a.m. and 10 a.m. and/or between 8 p.m. and midnight. To get additional information on ways to conserve water visit For questions and comments contact or

Houston's New Department of Neighborhoods Announces Two Community Events

Department of Neighborhoods LogoDepartment of Neighborhoods Open House
Thursday, September 29, 2011
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
7125 Ardmore, Houston 77054

All Houstonians are invited to attend the first Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Open House. Representatives from all DON divisions will be present to answer questions. (See for list of divisions.) To RSVP, complete this form For more information, contact Todd Curry at 832.394.0670 or

Mayor's Office for People with DisabilitiesDisability Awareness Month 3rd Annual Kickoff
Metropolitan Multi-Service Center Auditorium
Friday, October 7, 2011
10 a.m. - noon
1475 West Gray, Houston 77019

Please join the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and its community partners for a reception in honor of National Disability Awareness Month. There will be door prizes, refreshments and fun. To RSVP or for more information, contact Alvita McKinney at 713.284.1990 or

For more information about the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods or its Office for People with Disabilities, visit

Make the Call: If You See Something, Say Something

Having recently commemorated the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Houstonians are reminded that our nation and our communities remain at risk for acts of terrorism. One of the most important things citizens can do to help prevent acts of terrorism is to be vigilant for suspicious activity and if something looks suspicious, report it to authorities. The safety and security of our communities and our nation is everyone's responsibility.

Help keep Houston safe by checking, a website where individuals can access informative videos, get tips and contact information, as well as submit reports of suspicious activity to Homeland Security. Additionally, Houstonians can Make the Call to a designated phone number to report those suspicious activities: 1-855-I-WATCH4 (855-492-8244)**. Emergencies and incidents requiring immediate attention should still be reported to 911.

Citizens are reminded to be aware and alert:

  • Not rely on others to take action
  • Not ignore your instincts
  • If You See Something, Say Something
  • If it's an emergency, dial 911

For national directives, see

**The website and toll-free telephone number are intended for use within the entire 13-county Houston Metropolitan area and are intended only for homeland security-related suspicious activity reporting. Citizens should continue to use the Houston Police Department non-emergency line (713.884.3131) or Crime Stoppers (713.222.TIPS (8477)) to report crime-related information and 911 for immediate attention or emergencies.

National Night Out Logo

National Night Out: Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Houstonians get your lawn chairs, coolers and food ready! Join the Houston Police Department for the 28th Annual National Night Out (NNO) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet the officers who patrol your neighborhood and help strengthen police and community relations. Thousands of citizens in neighborhoods all over the city are expected to step out of their homes to meet their neighbors and renew their commitment to public safety.

To schedule an event or for more information on National Night Out, see and click on the NNO link to find your area coordinator or contact Officer J. L. Martinez in the Public Affairs Office at 713.308.3200.

Tree Waste/Junk Waste Collection Schedule Reminder

In order to save landfill space and your tax dollars, Houston's Solid Waste Management Department collects tree waste only in January, March, May, July, September and November, the ODD numbered months of the year. Bulk waste and other heavy trash is collected in the EVEN numbered months only. Please note: The maximum amount of material allowed for placement at the curb during Tree Waste or Junk Waste months is 8 cubic yards, or two pick-up truck beds full. During tree waste months, please utilize the Neighborhood Depository/Recycling Centers. To find your collection day, the closest depository/recycling center or any other information, visit or call 311.

The Green Building Resource Center Has Moved

The Green Building Resource Center (GBRC) has moved to the new Houston Permitting Center at 1002 Washington Avenue, Houston 77002. The building, soon-to-be certified LEED Gold, features many green components, including solar panels and a vegetated rooftop.

The GBRC features over 50 displays about site sustainability and indoor environmental quality, as well as energy, water and material conservation. Visitors are welcome to explore the Center Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. All groups as well as public, private and homeschool educators are encouraged to set up an appointment for a free, guided educational tour with the program director.

For more information see or contact Steve Stelzer, AIA, LEED AP, Program Director at 832.394.9050 or

Green Building Resource Center Graphics

City of Houston Launches New Electric Vehicle Website:
Houston Drives Electric

City of Houston Electric Vehicles"Houston Drives Electric" is the City of Houston's website for electric vehicle news and information. Houston's goal is to expand both the City's electric fleet and electric vehicle charging station infrastructure. Additionally, the site features information about the City's electric fleet, the latest news about the "Houston Drives Electric" initiative, the City's long-range electric vehicle infrastructure plan and a map of current and planned charging stations around the city.


Parking Management Offers New Online Customer Services

Parking Management Division LogoThe City of Houston now offers customers a more convenient way to manage their parking transactions. In addition to paying citations online, customers can now also purchase permits and contest citations online. By creating a "My Account" profile, one can track permits, citations and online contests when and where it is convenient.

Currently, commercial vehicle loading zone permits, valet zone permits and monthly contract permits can be requested and purchased online. In the fall renewal season, residential permit parking customers will also have access to the same convenience.

Parking citations can be contested online within seven days of being issued, eliminating a trip and an in-person appearance at the Municipal Courts parking adjudication office. All online services are available at For citizens who prefer to contest their tickets in person, hearing officers will continue to be available from 8:30 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information about the City of Houston Parking Management, please visit or email For information about Municipal Courts, visit or the Houston 311 Help & Info website at

More Money @ your library® Program Series Offers FREE
Financial Literacy Classes and Resources in October 2011

Houston Public Library's (HPL) free financial literacy program "More Money @ your library®" will offer a new series of classes for all ages, including children and teens, during October 2011. Class topics include choosing a banking institution, borrowing basics, starting a business, how to budget, reading a credit report and improving your credit score, setting long-term financial goals and much more. All Houstonians are encouraged to take advantage of the classes offered through each series at HPL locations and through community partners.

Classes are free, on a first-come first-served basis. For a complete list of More Money @ your library® classes and programs, see Online financial literacy resources are also available 24/7 at

More Money @ your library® program is funded through a grant awarded to HPL by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation as part of the "Smart investing @ your library®" program.

More Money Sponsors

Get Your Passport at the Library

Houston Public Library (HPL) now provides passport services for U.S. citizens in the City of Houston. This new Library customer service is offered by trained Library staff at two HPL locations:

  • Central Library, 500 McKinney, Houston 77002, 832.393.1313 on Mondays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Henington-Alief Regional Library, 7979 South Kirkwood, Houston 77072, 832.393.1820 on Mondays and Wednesdays 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

For more information on the passport application process, visit After Friday, September 23, 2011, you can also visit for passport application information.

Houston Public Library Information

City of Houston hosts
Community U: Lessons in Neighborhood Organizing

City of Houston SealSaturday, October 15, 2011
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
United Way of Greater Houston
50 Waugh Drive, Houston 77007
Cost: $5/person (Free parking)

This half-day conference will provide Houstonians with training, resources and solutions through a combination of workshops, presentations and networking opportunities. Learn about positive changes taking place in neighborhoods throughout Houston.

Advance registration is required and payment MUST accompany the registration form to attend this half-day event. To download the registration form, go to To download the conference brochure, go to

For more information, contact or 713.837.7803. If you love your community, this is one event you can't miss!

New Security Software Introduced at Houston Airports

Airport ScannerThe Houston Airport System and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have introduced new software called Automated Target Recognition, for the Advanced Image Technology (AIT) scanners currently in place at both George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby Airports. The software provides additional privacy protection by eliminating passenger-specific images. If anomalies are detected on a passenger, a generic, computer-generated outline of a person appears on the AIT monitor, highlighting any areas that require additional screening. This new measure of security will streamline the check-in process and enhance the customer service experience.

To make your trip to the airport easier, visit the TSA's website to become familiar with rules and regulations to pass through security checkpoints at For more information about the Houston Airport System see

Visit the WaterWorks Education Center

Visit the City of Houston's WaterWorks Education Center to explore the wonders of water, Earth's most precious natural resource. Learn how the City of Houston provides drinking water to 2.8 million people each day at this regional center dedicated to educating its guests about the importance of water conservation and how to safeguard our water supplies.

The Education Center is located at the City's Northeast Water Purification Plant, 12121 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Humble, Texas 77396. Admission is free and hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tours are available for groups and individuals of all ages by appointment and include travel through each stage of the water treatment process from the view of a drop of water. Find out how the drought is affecting our water system and what the City of Houston is doing to protect it.

Visit, email or call 832.395.3791 to make a reservation and for more details.

Waterworks Education Center

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Mailing Address:  City of Houston | P.O. Box 1562 | Houston, Texas 77251
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