The District J Journal – February 8, 2013

February 12, 2013

Mike Laster - Flipped
832.393.3015

City Hall Annex

900 Bagby

Houston, TX  77002
PO Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562

Leah Olive-Nishioka
Communications Director

Matt Brollier
Constituent Services
Director

Ahmad Chughtai
Agenda & Policy Director

Sharon Shanahan
Administrative Services Director

 

Community Links

 

District J Parks 
City Contacts 

 

HPD (non-emergency)

713.884.3131

 

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Southwest Faith Alliance 

Coming Together for the Common Good 

 

One of the things I like most about being your District J Council Member is being able meet with constituents, civic organizations, and community representatives.  In these meetings, we often discuss their needs and concerns and they usually result in another item being added to the District “To-Do” list.  Each meeting always includes an insightful discussion of how that particular group wants to help enhance and revitalize District J.

 

During the past year I have been particularly blessed to get to know many of the faith leaders of District J.  I fervently believe that these faith leaders have a distinct and focused insight into the needs and challenges of southwest Houston.  I am always interested to hear the stories of the people who form those congregations and the work their communities are doing.  I am often amazed at how and why these congregations have chosen our neighborhoods as their respective base of operations.   I’m inspired by their commitment to minister to the needs of the neighborhoods that surround them.  I believe that these faith communities can be powerful allies in promoting the greater good when yoked together.

 

On Friday, February 1st, I was pleased to convene the inaugural meeting of the Southwest Faith Alliance. Your District J office invited the leaders of our District J churches, mosques, temples and synagogues to come together in order to get to know each other.  All too often our faith leaders are so busy ministering to the needs of the community that they don’t have the time and resources to learn of the good work being done by their neighboring faith communities. 

 

I was pleased to welcome this first gathering of ministers and representatives of Epiphany Community Health Organization (ECHOS), Epiphany Episcopal Church, Higher Dimension Church, Life Fellowship Church, Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Community, Sharpstown Baptist Church, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – Gethsemane Campus, St. Luke’s re-Vision program, and the Al Noor Mosque.

 

I am particularly grateful that Epiphany Episcopal Church and ECHOS agreed to serve as our hosts for this event.  Special thanks to Reverend Jim Tucker, Jean Kegler, Kathy Eckhardt, Frank Levy and everyone at Epiphany for making us feel so welcome.

 

Your District J office will continue to facilitate these gatherings on a quarterly basis as participating faith leaders work on creating an independent organizational structure.  Please let us know if your District J faith community would like to participate in this venture. 

 

We look forward to welcoming everyone to the table.

    Mike Laster - signature
- Mike Laster, Council Member – District J

Picnic Table Reservations at Lansdale 

The basketball pavilion at Lansdale Park has now been converted into a picnic pavilion.  It’s a great spot for a birthday party, family picnic, or celebration.

If you are interested in reserving the picnic pavilion for your event, please click here for more information on how to obtain a reservation and permit or call (832) 395-7000 for the City of Houston Permitting Office.

District J CIP Meeting

March 6 

Mark your calendars!  The District J CIP Meeting is scheduled for 

 

Wednesday, March 6

6-8 pm

Sharpstown Community Center

6600 Harbor Town Dr

Houston, TX 77036

At this meeting, District J residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) projects scheduled for District J in the upcoming years.  We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions.  An update of ReBuild Houston will also be presented at the meeting.

The City of Houston will provide reasonable accommodations to citizens with disabilities or special needs upon request in advance of the meeting.  Citizens are encouraged to call 832-393-0955 for arrangements.

New 311 App for Smartphones 

On Tuesday, January 29, Mayor Annise Parker announced the release of the new 311 Smartphone app available for iPhones and Android.  The Smartphone app is the newest addition to 311′s entirely new design focused on maximizing citizen engagement.

The City of Houston launched the 311 Houston Service Helpline in August 2001 as a telephone helpline, and the technology backbone which ran the system became rigid and inflexible over time. Now, 311 Help & Info users are able to submit service requests via the new Smartphone app, the redesigned website, email or by calling the 24/7 call center. The new 311 system is more flexible, convenient, efficient, and customer-focused than ever in Houston’s history. Additionally, the new 311 empowers citizens to join the City’s effort to improve the community by making it easy for them to report issues that need to be resolved.

To download the new app, click here or visit the iPhone App Store or the Android Google Play market and search for “City of Houston 311.”

Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Announces Tax Centers 

 

NCI’s Neighborhood Tax Centers, an IRS VITA program, offers FREE quality tax preparation by IRS-certified tax preparers at 15 convenient locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center in District J.  

 

  • Free Tax Preparation
  • Free e-filing for FAST refund
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free ITINs
  • Extended and weekend hours at many locations
  • Always walk-in service at all locations 
Who benefits from this service?
  • Families earning up to $50,000 and single individuals with no children earning up to $30,000.
  • Change of life circumstances such as divorce or unemployment and larger families with slightly higher incomes are taken into consideration.
What impact does this IRS VITA program have on the community?
  • In 2012, Neighborhood Tax Centers prepared 31,962 tax returns, putting $42 million back in the pockets of working families.
  • Families save an average of $200 in tax preparation and predatory refund loan fees, amounting to an overall savings of about $6 million in 2012.

For more information, including a checklist of documents to bring, please call 2-1-1 or click here.   

 

March On Crime – Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon 

The Greater Sharpstown Management District invites you to join them for their “March On Crime – Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon” on Thursday, March 7, at Houston Baptist University’s McNair Hall, Morris Cultural Arts Center, located at 7502 Fondren Road.

11:30 am – Registration
12 noon – Program & Awards Presentation

Lunch is complimentary, however seating is limited and no walk-ins will be accepted.  RSVP by February 26 to Alice Lee at 713-501-8719.

District J Spotlight:  Knights of Columbus Lenten Fish Fry

The Saint Francis de Sales Knights of Columbus are hosting Fish Fries each Friday during the Lenten season from 6 to 8 pm at the Saint Francis de Sales Church, located at 8200 Roos Road.  That’s February 15 and 22, and March 1, 8, 15, and 22.

The menu includes grilled and fried fish, french fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, green beans, spaghetti, and iced tea or lemonade.  $9 for adults, and $6 for children.  All proceeds benefit the Knight of Columbus.

Please email Bill St. Cyr, Grand Knight, at billstcyrgk10995@gmail.com with any questions.

Upcoming Events

 

Calendar2Please refer to the Community Events Calendar on our website for time, location and other event details

New events are added every week.  Be sure to check in often!

  

 

February 8 

  • Houston ReelAbilities Film Festival 2013 (continuing through 2/13)

 

 

February 9 

  • 2013 Lunar New Year Festival (Chinese Community Center)
  • Yes Prep – Free Tax Preparation

February 10

  • Lunar New Year (Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist)
  • Vietnamese New Year Celebration (Vietnamese Community Center)

February 11

  • GSMD Business & Economic Development Committee Meeting
  • IMD Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Meeting

February 12

  • President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
  • AARP Chatper 50 Meeting
  • MHSW: Screening of “Warrior Champions”
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

February 13

  • Ash Wednesday (Christian)  
  • Gulfton Area Service Provider Meeting
  • Sharpstown Super Neighborhood Council

February 14

  • Nirvana Day (Buddhist)
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Asian Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon
  • Braeburn Valley West Board Meeting
  • Volunteer Traffic Enforcement Training

February 15

  • Knights of Columbus Lenten Fish Fry

February 16

  • 17th Annual Texas Lunar Festival (Amity Park)
  • Lunar New Year Houston Celebration (Viet Hoa Center)

February 17

  • Lunar New Year Houston Celebration (Viet Hoa Center)
  • NBA All Star game 

February 18

  • Presidents Day
  • Brays Bayou Association Meeting

February 19

  • Braeburn PIP Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club Meeting

February 20

  • GSMD – Environmental & Urban Design Committee Meeting
  • HVLP/LyondellBasell Pro Bono Legal Clinic
  • Midwest PIP Meeting

February 21

  • South Texas College of Law Direct Representation Legal Clinic
  • Westside PIP Meeting

February 22

  •  Knights of Columbus Lenten Fish Fry