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Summer fun in sunny Houston

July 17, 2014 • Continue Reading »

Summer is a welcome break from the school-year routine. But for many kids, summer means watching tv and hanging out – not really doing much of anything. Without activities that engage their minds and bodies, kids experience summer learning loss as well as boredom.

Happily, kids in PAIR’s Global Learners summer program are now taking an exciting vacation right here in the city. In Summer Learners, students without many other options have a chance to learn more – about each other, about Houston, and about all sorts of new and interesting topics – and have FUN at the same time!

Each week students explore a different theme that connects them to the world outside their own and sparks their interest in the topic. Each week also includes a field trip that links to the theme and reveals a little of what Houston has to offer. Students are visiting Asia Society, the Museum of Natural Science, and Miller Theatre in Hermann Park among other Houston places.

PAIR’s lending library is on site so students can borrow books each week, experiencing the pleasure of reading and developing their English skills at the same time. They return the books with a brief report to share and compete for prizes at the end of the program. Of course, there is also time for play – soccer, kickball, and basketball are favorites.

Summer Learners brings students from all four of PAIR’s school-year middle school programs together at NCI’s Baker-Ripley campus. In this large group of kids from all over the world they have a chance to use the social skills they’ve been developing and to welcome each other into the exciting culturally diverse world of Houston today.

Share the fun with more photos on PAIR’s Facebook page.

PAIR Houston
8303 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 718
Houston, Texas 77074 pair@pairhouston.org
www.pairhouston.org
713.771.1111

Houston’s Summer of Learning

July 14, 2014 • Continue Reading »

Houston is full of FREE, FUN resources and opportunities to LEARN all summer long!

Houstons_Summer_of_Learning

School is out but learning does not have to end! The Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives has organized numerous free, fun and educational summer learning programs in Houston! These include summer reading programs through the Houston Public Library system, nutrition and wellness programs through Houston Parks & Recreation and art & cultural events through the Houston Museum District, Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston Symphony and Young Audiences of Houston. The Summer of Learning campaign also has intern and/or volunteer opportunities open to students and responsible adults through Houston Service, as well as resources to help your child plan for college through the City of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods Office of Education Initiatives!

For more information, check out the Summer of Learning webpage at www.houstontx.gov/education/summeroflearning.html or contact Aarik Mickens-Dessaso via email at Aarik.Mickens-Dessaso@houstontx.gov or by phone at 832.393.0993. You can also check out the calendar of events at www.houstontx.gov/education.

You can also follow the Department of Neighborhoods on Facebook and Twitter for updates on summer activities and more!

The District J Journal – July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 • Continue Reading »

It’s Budget Season!

 

  

City Council wrapped up nearly three weeks of FY2015 budget deliberations this past Wednesday.

  

I was pleased to offer two amendments to the CIP (Capital Improvements Projects) Budget that were passed by Council:

 

Money for Speed Cushions

 

One of those amendments was the inclusion of an additional $250,000 for the CIP Budget allocated for neighborhood speed cushions. This would bring the total amount of funding to $500,000 – the amount I was able to increase this programs’ funding to last year. Speed cushions are important safety tools for neighborhoods, and this amendment will ensure that funding levels remain consistent.

 

Equal Funding for All

 

I also offered an amendment stating that not less than 1 percent of the annual CIP budget be allotted to each council district. This ensures that every council district receives the same baseline amount of funding devoted to Capital Improvement Projects within its boundaries.

 

Council District Service Budgets

 

I was also pleased that an amendment creating Council District Service Budgets was passed by an overwhelming majority of Council.

 

This amendment allots $11 million ($5 million in general fund dollars and $6 million in CIP funds), equally distributed to the 11 council districts, to more quickly address smaller infrastructure construction and repair needs, without waiting years for such improvements to be constructed on the current CIP timelines.

  

Input from the community will be vital to making this new process work, and there will be detailed requirements as to how, and for what projects, these funds can be used. The District J Office will keep you informed about these new rules and regulations for the use of funds as they are formulated and finalized. 

 

Condolences . . .

 

I know you will join me in holding

Fire Fighter Daniel Groover, of Fire Station 104, and his family in your thoughts and prayers. He was a 46-year-old veteran of the Houston Fire Department and lost his life fighting a house fire in Kingwood.

 

Donations can made in his name to The 100 Club, who is providing assistance to the family.

 

Take a moment to remember this true hero.

                      

Blessings,

  

Mike Laster - signature 

-Mike Laster, Council Member – District J

 

Continue Reading »

30th Annual Mayor’s Proud Partner Award – Call for Entries!

July 10, 2014 • Continue Reading »

Who: Keep Houston Beautiful (Houston Clean City Commission)

What: Mayor’s Proud Partner Award Call for Entries

When: entries due Monday, July 21, 2014

Where: award application is available at www.houstonbeautiful.org

Why: award the efforts of businesses, individuals and community groups who work to enhance Houston’s landscape through environmental and beautification projects

Contact: Emily Barlow, Program Director, Keep Houston Beautiful

30th_Annual_Mayors_Proud_Partner_Award_Call_For_Entries

Keep Houston Beautiful, the City of Houston’s Clean City Commission, is now accepting award applications for the 30th Annual Mayor’s Proud Partner Awards. If your group has worked to support our city through volunteer beautification, neighborhood cleanups or conservation activities, the City of Houston would like to hear about it. Gather your organization’s leaders together and select that special project that you would like to submit demonstrating your commitment to keeping Houston beautiful!

The Mayor’s Proud Partner Award application is available at www.houstonbeautiful.org. Please note, all applications must be submitted online and are due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, July 21, 2014.

Eligible entries include 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. See last year’s Proud Partner Award winners here.

Examples of eligible entries: beautification and landscaping installations, neighborhood cleanups, environmental education programs, volunteer park improvements, murals (graffiti abatement), waste minimization efforts, litter prevention programs and similar service projects.

Sponsoring groups may include: businesses, nonprofit and civic organizations, garden clubs, youth groups (including, classroom projects), universities, government agencies, religious institutions, medical institutions and individuals.

Be sure to apply today! For more information, contact Keep Houston Beautiful at ebarlow@houstonbeautiful.org.

To learn more about the City of Houston’s sustainability efforts, visit

www.greenhoustontx.gov

www.codegreenhouston.org

www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste

2014 Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition

July 2, 2014 • Continue Reading »

2014_Liftoff_Houston_Business_Plan_Competition

Enter for a chance to win $10,000!
2014 Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Do you have a business idea that could change the world?

Don’t miss this once in a life-time opportunity to test your business idea and get feedback from leaders in the business community.

Liftoff Houston is the City of Houston’s business plan competition which provides startup companies and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to participate in workshops and mentoring, that will ultimately lead them to create an effective business plan. Houstonians that participate in this competition will have an opportunity to pitch their business plan at our pitch event for a chance to win a $10,000 cash prize along with great in-kind prizes to start their business! Now in our 2nd year, Liftoff Houston is brought to you by the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, the Houston Public Library, and is sponsored by Capital One Bank.

To be eligible, contestants must be in the start-up phase of their business: you have an idea or you are currently operating a business. If currently in operation- it must be for less than one year, with revenue of less than $10,000. Participants must live in the Houston city limits and if currently operating their business, the business must also be within the Houston city limits.

This year there will be three award categories where a winner from each award category will receive a $10,000 cash prize along with in-kind prizes.

1. ​$10,000 – Awarded for top “Product” Based Business Plan (Retail, resale, merchandise, etc.)
2. $10,000 – Awarded for top “Service” Based Business Plan (Food, labor, consulting, etc.)
3. $10,000 – Awarded for top “Innovation” Based Business Plan (Software, Hardware, inventions, new market businesses, etc.)

Mandatory Orientations

Orientations are required for contestants and will be offered at designated Houston Public Library locations citywide. Orientations will provide interested individuals with detailed information about the competition including rules, resources, and the process to compete. Orientations will start July 12th, 2014 and continue through till July 31st, 2014. To view the list of orientations and RSVP on the Liftoff Houston website visit, www.Liftoffhouston.com.

Noncompeting Individuals

Individuals that do not wish to compete in the competition but would like to attend workshops can do so by emailing Liftoff Houston stating their interest to attend workshops and not participate in pitch day. Liftoff Houston pitch day contestants will be given priority when registering for workshops.

Contact

Liftoff Houston/ Houston Business Solutions Center: Telephone: 832-393-0953 or liftoffhouston@houstontx.gov

 

Download Competition Information (PDF)

Build a Better Bus System

June 29, 2014 • Continue Reading »

The City of Houston and METRO Invite You to

Build a Better Bus System.

METRO-System-Reimagining

METRO is hosting several public meetings at City of Houston Multi-Service Centers on the agency’s draft five-year transit plan.

The meetings are “open house” in format and will provide a brief overview of the System Reimagining project and the major changes proposed under the plan. Several stations will be set up at which visitors will be able to learn and discuss aspects of the redesigned system, and to share their comments. Here is the schedule.

The redesign of METRO’s local bus system has been underway for more than a year. The plan aims to connect more people to more places with more frequent service seven days a week. For an overview of the proposed plan, go here.

The public’s feedback is an important step in the process as the draft plan is refined before it goes to the METRO board for its review and approval. Following board approval, the new bus plan is slated to be implemented in the summer of 2015.

For those unable to attend the public meetings, comments may be submitted on the website , via email at reimagining@ridemetro.org or by calling the Project Hotline at 713-739-6026.

Plant It Forward Farm Stands Now Open in Your Neighborhood

June 28, 2014 • Continue Reading »

Plant-It-Forward-Farm-Stands

Southwest Airlines® Freedom Over Texas Seeking Patriotic Volunteers for Fourth of July Celebration

June 28, 2014 • Continue Reading »

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

JULY 4, 2014

MAYOR ANNISE PARKER NEEDS YOU!
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES® FREEDOM OVER TEXAS
Seeking Patriotic Volunteers for Fourth of July Celebration

Freedom-Over-Texas-2014

The City of Houston is calling on all patriots to volunteer their time in celebrating our nation’s birth at Southwest Airlines Freedom over Texas.

Volunteer assignments include acting as festival greeters or working on-site event booths that make up the festival’s infrastructure. In return for donating time, volunteers will be treated to world-class entertainment, free parking, excellent prize drawings, great refreshments and a dazzling fireworks display. Volunteers that sign up to work a double shift will enjoy a free dinner and will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of Southwest Airline® Tickets and a free one night stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Downtown!

Come help make Southwest Airline’s Freedom Over Texas one of the most spectacular and memorable events in the city! We ask that all volunteers are at least 16 years old.

WHEN: Friday, July 4 Volunteer Shifts; 2:30 – 7 p.m. OR 6 – 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Volunteer Headquarters 110 Sabine St., Houston, TX 77010

HOW TO SIGN UP: Please visit www.freedomovertexas.org to sign up. Assignments will be distributed upon arrival at Volunteer Headquarters.

Fireworks-light-up-the-Downtown-Skyline-during-Southwest-Airlines-Freedo...

About Southwest Airlines® Freedom Over Texas

Mayor Annise D. Parker’s official Fourth of July celebration has become Houston’s signature annual event attracting nationally recognized recording artists and, regional and local talent. Jennifer Nettles, country music star and lead vocalist for international super duo Sugarland, will be the featured artist at this year’s celebration. The 2014 Southwest Airlines Freedom Over Texas celebration will set the stage for an extraordinary patriotic celebration filled with family fun. The event culminates with one of the largest fireworks displays in the USA overlooking the Houston skyline.

Pre-Sale Tickets: $5 per person through June 1, 2014 (children 5 and under free)
$8 per person June 2 – July 3, 2014 (children 5 and under free) Tickets may be purchased on-line prior to the event.

Day of: The day of show tickets may be purchased on-line or at the event for $10 (children 5 and under free).

For more information, visit
www.freedomovertexas.org
Ticket URL https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=3355

 

Centerpoint Trails Expand City’s Rransportation and Recreational Options

June 16, 2014 • Continue Reading »

COUNCIL MEMBER ROBINSON: USE OF CENTERPOINT CORRIDORS WILL EXPAND HOUSTONIANS’ TRANSPORTATION AND RECREATIONAL OPTIONS

Houston City Council has approved an agreement for Hike and Bike Trails with CenterPoint Energy. The agreement will allow the City to construct pedestrian and bicycle trails on CenterPoint’s Transmission Corridors.

Use of CenterPoint’s transmission corridors will complement the Bayou Greenways system in providing enhanced access for pedestrians, bicyclists, and alternative transportation savvy Houstonians. Since the Bayou Greenways largely run east/west, the use of the CenterPoint transmission corridors improves Houstonians’ ability to travel on a north/south basis.

The Houston Parks Board will begin fundraising for additional hike and bike trails within the transmission corridors.

Council Member Robinson has requested and obtained a composite map of the current and planned scope of the City’s Bayou Greenway trails, hike and bike trails, and on-street bike lanes, as well as the CenterPoint corridors. To view Council Member Robinson’s map click here.

Full Renovation of the Lee LeClear Tennis Center

May 27, 2014 • Continue Reading »

The Houston Parks Board is pleased to partner with the Friends of the Lee LeClear Tennis Center, Inc. and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to complete a full renovation of the Lee LeClear Tennis Center. Opened in 1973, this once premier tennis facility is showing its age. Although still heavily used, the entire facility is in desperate need of renovation, from the courts to the tennis center.

The scope of work includes:

  • Demolish existing building, courts, fencing, lighting, walkways and plaza, and improve drainage/earthwork
  • Construct new walkways and entry plaza
  • Construct new tennis center with observation deck
  • Construct new concrete courts, practice wall, fencing, and court lighting
  • Install new center court seating and shade structure
  • Install new site furniture
  • Install landscaping and irrigation
  • Construct new parking lot, drop-off zone and install new security lighting/cameras

The estimated $5.4 million renovation will restore Lee LeClear Tennis Center to the premier facility of its glory days and provide a much-needed facility for tennis tournaments and the Houston tennis community.

Buy A Bench Campaign

Efforts are underway to raise funds to completely renovate the Lee LeClear Tennis Center after 40 years of use! The renovation will include a new tennis facility and a Learning Center for Health and Wellness.

One of the ways to contribute to this worthwhile project is to “buy a bench”. There will be fifty (50) benches, two on each court. Each individual bench that is sold will have a plaque placed on the back of the bench in honor of the name of a person, a family, a tennis team or a business that purchased the bench. The tax-deductible donation for each bench is $2,500.00.

Donations can be made by check payable to The Houston Parks Board. Indicate it is for the “buy a bench” campaign for the Lee LeClear Tennis Center. Alternatively, you can go to the Houston Parks Board and follow the instructions on how to contribute using a credit card.

And be sure to mark your calendar to attend The Lee LeClear Legacy Reunion on September 20, 2014, at the Lee LeClear Tennis Center!