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Holiday Happenings in Brays Oaks

December 12, 2017 • Continue Reading »

The holiday season is in full swing, and calendars are filling up fast. But we think everyone can always use a little more fun and community in their December. Make a little room on your list for these great events happening in Brays Oaks:

Dec 15th: Southwest HPD Substation Grand Opening

HPD will be holding a grand opening event for their new Southwest Substation at 13097 Nitida. Join Councilman Larry Green for this exciting event, and help welcome HPD to their new southwest home! The event will begin at 10:00am sharp.

Dec 16th: Winter Wonderland

On Saturday December 16th, The Church of Bethel’s Family will be turning their Bethel’s Place Empowerment Center into a winter wonderland! Stop by this family-friendly event for snacks, games and toy giveaway to help get you into that holiday spirit.

Dec 17th: Jewish CultureFest

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center is hosting a Jewish CultureFest on Sunday, December 17th. Join the center in celebrating Jewish culture and cuisine through live music, snacks, and local crafts and Judaica. The event ends with a community Hannukah candle lighting featuring Philadelphia-based acapella group The Shabbatones, so it’s sure to be a good way to ring in the season.

Southwest HPD Substation Grand Opening, Dec. 15

December 6, 2017 • Continue Reading »

Holiday Safety Tips

December 6, 2017 • Continue Reading »

The holidays are here! Make sure you and your loved ones stay safe during this busy season with these tips.
1. Be on guard at all times, and always aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you.
2. Maintain an alert stance and scan the people around you. Thieves avoid people who are alert and instead target people who they see as more vulnerable: the elderly, women alone or women and children, or people who are absorbed in conversations, their phones or other technology.
3. AVOID being engrossed in your cell phone or tablet (see #2) when walking. If you must take a call, stand by a wall with your back against it, scanning your surroundings.
4. If you have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.
5. Think like a thief: what attracts criminals? flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with goodies, smart phones, shopping bags, etc.
6. Carry only what is necessary; leave everything else at home
7. Always lock your vehicle!! REMOVE ALL VALUABLES FROM YOUR CAR or lock them in the trunk. As you shop,
lock your items in the trunk.
8. Consider carrying mace or pepper spray
9. Have your keys in your hand BEFORE heading to your car. At night or during particularly busy days, request a security person escort you to your car. A lot of stores will also have their employees walk you out, so be sure to ask.
10. Train your children to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.
11. Keep your curtains or blinds closed. The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely you will be burgled. DO NOT PUT YOUR CHRISTMAS TREES ON DISPLAY IN THE WINDOW, or at the very least, do not put packages under the tree until Christmas Eve.
12. Consider an alarm system or a dog
13. Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.
14. Look around the area before heading home. Many thieves / robbers will follow distracted drivers home from malls /stores. If you suspect you are being followed, go immediately to a fire station, police station or busy parking lot and HONK until security arrives or the car drives off.
15. Upon arriving home, before you open your door or garage, LOOK AROUND. If you suspect you are being followed, continue driving and proceed to #13.
16. Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.
17. Before going to an ATM, look around!! Is there a car just parked nearby? Are there a lot of bushes where someone can hide and jump out at you? If you are not sure, just bypass it and go somewhere else. The most you will lose is time and possibly gas, but at least you’ll be safe.
18. When in crowded malls or stores, be alert for pickpockets especially when someone bumps into you
19. If working late, walk out with a co-worker or call security and have them walk you to your car.
20. If going on vacation, register for a vacation watch with Constable Precinct 7 (713-643-6602)

courtesy Northfield I and II newsletter

Houston TranStar Cautions Commuters: When Stranded, Stay in Your Car

December 4, 2017 • Continue Reading »

A flat on the freeway. Extreme temperatures overheating your engine. A fender bender causing you to pull to the side of the road. The possibilities are as many as parts of a car, and all unplanned. However, if you find yourself stranded on Houston-area roadways, you can have a plan for staying safe!

Houston TranStar’s state-of-the-art monitoring systems direct traffic incident management around the clock, providing reliable, real-time travel information to area motorists to get people where they need to go, every day and in an emergency.

“Motorists don’t always have control over circumstances, and commuters who travel several miles to and from work each day are even more likely to experience an unexpected problem and become stranded on the freeway,” said Dinah Massie, Acting Executive Director and Chief Information Officer at Houston TranStar. “It is critical for motorists to understand that when stranded, the safest place to stay is in your car.”

According to a Harris County Institute of Forensic Science study, most vehicles break down because of mechanical problems. Whether motorists are trying to change a tire, make a repair, or are waiting for help, the study found that 74 percent of deaths occurred while these motorists were outside their vehicles. So even after you have called for help, the safest place to stay is in your car.

TranStar offers the following tips for staying safe if your vehicle is disabled:

  • Stay buckled in your vehicle
  • Turn on your vehicle’s flashing hazard lights
  • Pull as far off the road as possible, preferably exit the freeway entirely
  • Call 713-881-3333 for help
  • If someone is injured, always call 911

For more information about how to Travel Smart with TranStar, visit www.HoustonTranStar.org.

Webinar – How to Submit an Award Winning Nomination – NSBWA 2018

November 30, 2017 • Continue Reading »

Join the Houston NSBWA Coordinator for a brief WEBINAR on how to submit this year’s award winning nomination for local and national categories. Monday and Thursday at 10 am until January 4th (except Dec 25th and 28th).

The SBA is now accepting the following nominations for the 2018 Small Business Week Awards. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, 2:00 p.m. CST January 9, 2018.

National Award Categories:
• Small Business Person of the Year (submitted through Houston District Office)
• Small Business Exporter of the Year (submitted through Houston District Office)
• 8(a) Graduate of the Year (submitted through Houston District Office)
• Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery
• Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery
• Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
• Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
• Federal Procurement Award- Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
• Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
• Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
• Small Business Investment Company of the Year
• Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award

National nomination guidelines and forms can be found at < https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/awards

District Award Categories:
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year
• Family-Owned Business of the Year
• Financial Services Champion of the Year
• Home-Based Business Champion of the Year
• Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
• Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year
• Women in Business Champion of the Year
• Entrepreneurial Success Award

For the District nomination guideline & form visit www.sba.gov/tx/houston.

The Houston District Office will award the Houston Cup to the organization that submits the most nominations. District Award nominations should be submitted to the Houston District Office, 8701 S. Gessner, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77074, Attn: NSBWA Coordinator

For more information, contact Charles Abell at (713) 773-6512, charles.abell@sba.gov

The WEBINAR is free, however you must register for access.

Register Now!

Local Police Station is Fit for a New Gym Thanks in Part to Brays Oaks Management District

November 30, 2017 • Continue Reading »

Houston Police Department’s South Gessner station is about to get a lot more action.

This past April, Captain Craig Bellamy began thinking about the station’s gym, which didn’t have many options beyond a few free weights. “We had a gym in place, but it wasn’t really working out,” said Bellamy. “With a new gym we’ll be able to have enough equipment to make it effective.”

Bellamy says he was surprised at the generosity of community donations, which made the new gym at the South Gessner station possible. About 2/3 of the $16,000 came from Brays Oaks Management District and 1/3 came from Southwest Management District. The gym should be completely finished and full of all the new equipment by the end of November, and the station is planning a dedication ceremony on December 20th with Houston Police chief Art Acevedo.

Personal fitness, while important for first responders to perform their best at work, is often overlooked. For members of the Houston Police Department, getting to the gym before or after work can present obstacles. For example, the Houston Police Department has a strict policy on gear; an officer cannot safely lock up their uniform and gear (including their gun or badge) in a public gym locker, which are prone to break-ins. Additionally, officers should not lock their gear up in their personal vehicle, for the same reason.

“Because of this situation, it means that an off duty officer may have to drive 20+ minutes to get home, change clothes, drop their items off, and then drive to the gym to workout. Having a great gym at the station allows them to use their work lockers,” explained Captain Bellamy. “If we can eliminate [the detour and the issue with safely locking up their gear], it gives officers peace of mind. It’s safer. Working out is something all officers should be doing, but it’s not mandated except for the Tag Team.”

Will more officers at the South Gessner station be working out regularly? “I think so,” says Bellamy. “Some of the new equipment is installed and there is an uptick in cardio already. […] We’ll also have more diverse equipment that work on every part of the body, which is something officers had requested. There is a lot of excitement. The new weight machines will be plate loaded so there isn’t a need for a spotter.”

Does this mean working out will be expected? Bellamy tells us it isn’t a Houston Police Department policy but it’s something all police officers should include in their daily life, for endurance on the job and stress relief. Personal wellness shouldn’t be overlooked. “There isn’t an excuse to not use the gym now, and I think more officers will get in better shape. We can include their workout progress in their performance reviews and include fitness goals.”

Westbury Civic Club Celebrates 60th Anniversary

October 30, 2017 • Continue Reading »

Westbury was founded in the 1950s as a 5,000-home suburb in southwest Houston, and remains the city’s second largest subdivision, after the 7,500-home Sharpstown development founded around the same time. “Back in the late fifties, when they were planning these areas, they just thought bigger was better,” said Becky Edmondson, the president of the Westbury Civic Club. “After that, subdivisions became smaller.”

In the 1960s, hundreds of young families moved to Westbury, attracted by affordable prices, good schools, and proximity to the Medical Center and universities. Edmondson’s own father, a geologist, moved his family to the neighborhood in 1961. Over the next few decades, desegregation gradually brought an influx of people from many different races and nationalities into the mostly white subdivision, but Westbury didn’t experience the widespread “white flight” suffered by neighborhoods like Sharpstown.

“People liked their houses, they liked the location,” Edmondson explained. “The color of their neighbors’ skin didn’t matter.” Edmondson herself bought a house in Westbury in 1979, and remembers a neighborhood bursting with diversity.

“My neighbors two doors down were from India,” she recalled. “Across the street was a doctor from Mexico doing his residency; at the corner was an African-American family. All the kids were out playing in the street, and I don’t think they noticed. And my street wasn’t unique in Westbury.”
Last year, the Westbury Civic Club celebrated its 60th anniversary. From the beginning, the association has been devoted to improving the quality of life in the neighborhood. Since 1980, it has contracted with Precinct 5 to provide supplemental security patrols from the Houston Police Department. In 2010, it helped create a community garden, one of the largest in Houston, and it has planted or given away 6,500 trees over the past decade.

“Most people don’t realize the incredible number of hours that volunteers donate to the neighborhood every month,” said Edmondson, who has served as the club’s president, an unpaid position, for eight years. “The sheer volume of work that goes on would surprise many people.”

Among the club’s points of pride is its monthly newsletter, the Westbury Crier, which it has published without interruption since July 1956 when it started off as a single-page broadsheet. One of the things that makes Westbury unique, Edmondson said, is how many families have lived there generation after generation
“In the 1980s we had a new group of people moving in, people who grew up in the area and wanted to live near their parents. Now, forty years later, we’re starting to see that same young demographic, families with children, moving back in. That’s what makes this neighborhood so special.”

Hillcroft WalMart Grand Re-opening Event

October 28, 2017 • Continue Reading »

The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Hillcroft in Brays Oaks Management District celebrated it’s re-opening after the remodel of their grocery store on October 27, 2017.
Improvements at store include:

  • Improved lighting inside the store
  • Rebuilt the refrigeration systems
  • Refreshed deli and bakery and produce signage
  • Relocated WalMart.com pickup to front of store – for nongrocery items ordered online so you don’t have to have items delivered to your front door where it is at risk for theft from front porch
  • Pharmacy remodel
  • Remodeled bathrooms

Store Manager, Ordel Davis – Welcomed the crowd and served as event Master of Ceremony. Comments by pastor Brandon Webb of Westbury Baptist Church on Hillcroft. Prayer by Father Hai of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church on Hillcroft. Cindy Chapman, BOMD, spoke on behalf of the Brays Oaks Management District.


National Anthem by Westbury Christian School Band.


Community Representatives:
Becky Edmondson- Westbury Civic Club
Cindy Chapman – BOMD and Westbury Area Improvement Corporation
Howard Sacks – Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy
Bill Burhans – Willow Waterhole Greenspace
Leslie Brown – Maplewood South /North Civic Club


Ribbon Cutting: Cindy, Becky, Howard, and Leslie helped cut the ribbon with Store Manager Ordel Davis and Day Manager Kelly Oswald

The Brays Oaks District is a Proud Partner in Public Art

October 25, 2017 • Ryan Leach • Continue Reading »

image courtesy UP Art Studio

Residents and visitors to the Brays Oaks District take notice of the multiple mini murals that have been painted over formerly grey electrical boxes. Several artists, commissioned through a citywide beautification initiative in partnership with UP Art Studio and the Brays Oaks Management District, have added a little spice to major thoroughfares like Gessner, Braeswood and Fondren. The mini murals are not the only eye catching public art pieces sprinkled throughout the area, however. Keep an eye out for these interesting pieces of eye candy:

The Red Man by Clinton Millsap: Roark @ West Bellfort – The bright red and blue are certainly eye catching, but what makes you give a second look is the life-sized “man in red.” The honeycomb overlay, and sense of movement added with the tennis shoe outlines capture the hustle and bustle essence of the district, which is crisscrossed by some of the city’s busiest streets.

Rocket Raccoon by Anat Ronen: South Gessner @ Creekbend– As you drive down Gessner, you are sure to come across this mini mural by Anat Ronen. Ronen, known for her affinity for animal subjects, painted a playful raccoon. The animal peers out at you from his “home,” and brings a smile to drivers on their commutes.

image courtesy UP Art Studio

Brays Oaks Logo by Pilot FX: South Gessner @South Braeswood – We may be a little biased, but this is one of our favorites in the district. The Brays Oaks Management District logo shines bright, and reminds residents and visitors of the wonderful oaks and beautiful bayou that make this such a great place to live.

“We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SS,” by Tara Conley : South Gessner Division Police Station – The honeycomb theme appears yet again in this Houston Arts Alliance-funded sculpture by local artist Tara Conley. The metallic honeycomb is intended to evoke the relationship between the community and the Houston Police Department as an interdependent, mutual relationship. Conley says the name of the sculpture comes from a collection of phrases she believes portray the nature and purpose of the police department.

As time goes by and the community grows in Brays Oaks, the arts will surely grow as well. Keep an eye out for these pieces and many others.

Story by Ryan Leach

Salute to Veterans Business Workshop

October 12, 2017 • Continue Reading »

Veterans, Let Us Help You Grow! This free event will introduce you to important contacts across Houston that can help you plan or grow your business, find financing alternatives, learn how to get federal contracts, and provide an opportunity for networking with other veteran business owners.

Speakers/Panelists will include representatives from:
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE, Women’s Business Center (WBC), Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), The City of Houston, Office of Veterans Affairs’, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Women Veterans Business Center (WVBC), VetBizBattle, Houston Community College (HCC), NASA, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a Veteran focused lending panel including BBVA Compass, Texas First Bank, LiftFund, and People Fund, PLUS MORE including exhibitors!!

Agenda:
8:30am-9:00am: Registration
9:00am-9:30am: Lender Panel
9:30am-10:00am: Resource Panel
10:00am-10:30am: Veteran Resource Panel
10:30am-10:40am: Break
10:40am-11:00am: KEYNOTE SPEAKER
11:00am-11:20am: Veteran Success Story
11:20am-12:00pm: Contracting Panel.

When:
Monday, October 30, 2017
9:00am to 12:00pm

Where:
Houston Community College – West Loop Center – Auditorium
5601 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77081

The event is free, however, seating is limited and registration is required.

Register Now