City Seal
From the Office of Council Member Mike Laster 

District Journal

Official Newsletter of Houston City Council District J

Friday, August 10, 2012 

Mike Laster - Flipped

City Hall Annex
900 Bagby

Houston, TX  77002

PO Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562

Leah Olive-Nishioka
Communications Director

Matt Brollier
Constituent Servi
ces Director

Jeremy Brown
Agenda & Policy Director

Sharon Shanahan
Administrative Services Director

Community Links

Hurricane Season Resources

Hurricane Symbol

District J Parks 

City Contacts 

HPD (non-emergency) 



Anti-Gang Office 



Mayor’s Citizens’ Assistance 832.393.0955


Department of Neighborhoods 832.393.1038


Health & Human Services  



Parks Department 



Public Works & Engineering 832.395.2511


Solid Waste Management 713.956.6589

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It’s Back-To-School Time… 


Back To School It is that time of year when families finish up last minute summer trips and projects, look for back to school sales, and prepare for the onslaught of the first day of school. In addition to those tasks some of us are just hoping to have a few more “restful” days of summer.


This week’s edition of your District Journal has several back-to-school related articles which I commend to your reading. These articles, and our Community Calendar listings, are by no means exhaustive of all of the activities happening in and around Southwest Houston. Hopefully, however, they will give you a hint at some, if not all of the opportunities that are available and back-to-school preparations that are underway.


Briefly let me call your attention to two such events in which you and your family may wish to participate.


First is the “Back to School Fest,” sponsored by the City of Houston and Houston ISD. This mega-event (they are expecting nearly 25,000 participants), will take place at Reliant Center. This festival offers parents and children opportunities to: obtain free school supplies (while supplies last), have one stop shopping for school uniforms, take advantage of health screenings and back-to-school immunizations (a copy of the child’s shot records are required to be able to participate in the immunization program), and be able to learn more about HISD’s and the City’s educational opportunities. Children must be accompanied by a parent who must bring proof of HISD enrollment (student ID or last Report Card). The event will take place from 8:00 am until 12:00 noon. Admission is free.


Secondly, in District J, there is India House Houston’s Youth Explosion. India House is located at 8888 West Bellfort just west of Gessner. Billed as a free “day of fun for children and parents,” this event starts at 9:00 am and will continue until 2:00 p.m. For more information, call India House at 713.929.1909.


I hope these two events and the others on our calendar help you get prepared for the return to school or just merely have a great weekend.


So, in the immortal Friday night words of our famous Houstonian, Channel 13’s Marvin Zindler, I wish you “a good weekend,…. good golf, good tennis, or whateverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr makes you happy”.

Mike Laster - signature 

– Mike Laster, Council Member – District J   

“Securing Our Families” Conference – August 29 


Community Join us for this back to school meeting where we will discuss strategies to protect our children, homes, and families against crime.  Come meet officers and representatives from the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, and other law enforcement agencies.


August 29, 2012

6:30 pm

Southwest Multi-Service Center

6400 High Star

Houston, TX  77074

Preparing for a Hurricane – Important Documents 


Important Documents The previous issue of the District Journal featured an article on emergency kits for hurricane preparation and suggested securing important documents in a waterproof container, such as a zip-top plastic gallon bag or special document case.  Examples of these documents include the following:

Personal Papers

  • Social security cards
  • Important mailing and email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Birth certificates, adoption papers
  • Marriage certificate
  • Citizenship papers, naturalization documents
  • Drivers licenses
  • Passports
  • Federal and state IDs
  • Immunization records, blood types
  • Court orders related to divorce, child support and custody, alimony or property division

Financial Information

  • Wills (last will and testament, living will)
  • Powers of Attorney documents (for financial and health matters)
  • Insurance policies, including policy numbers and coverage limits, addresses and phone numbers of agents or companies
  • Bank accounts with types of accounts and account numbers, and telephone numbers associated with the accounts
  • Credit card account numbers and telephone numbers associated with each account   
  • Real estate documents (leases, deeds, mortgages, and promissory notes; closing papers)
  • Vehicle titles
  • All bonds, stocks and certificates; sales or installment contracts and finance agreements

Securing documents is important in case you need to relocate after a storm, or even if you need to file an insurance claim for a storm related home repair.  Keeping important documents also helps you “get back to normal” as quickly as possibly after a storm.   

Mosquito Bite and West Nile Virus Prevention 


No Mosquitoes!Houston has had it’s first death related to the West Nile Virus, a disease carried by mosquitoes.  Given this sad loss, the staff at the District J office wants to remind our readers of some tips to help keep the mosquito population down and protect yourself from bites.

  • Use repellants with DEET, the most effective repellant on the market.  DEET works by overpowering skin odor and carbon dioxide from our breathing – essentially what attracts mosquitoes to us.  It is most effective when sprayed on skin or clothing.  Follow all product label instructions for use.     
  • Check for standing water in your yard and other outdoor areas, such as tire swings, wheel barrows, roof gutters, plant containers, and drainage ditches.  Mosquitoes lay up to 250 eggs at a time in still water, which will hatch in 7 to 10 days.  By eliminating standing water weekly and after rain, many mosquitoes will be kept from breeding in the first place.    
  • Use mosquito dunks in bird baths, rain barrels, ponds, or other water features on your property to discourage a mosquito breeding environment and kill mosquito eggs and larvae.  Mosquito dunks with BTI contain no poisonous chemicals and are completely harmless to birds and ornamental pond fish.   
  • Avoid mosquitoes by staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when they are most active. 
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.

Sharpstown residents receive mosquito spraying with an environmentally friendly product every Thursday from now through October.  If you have any questions, please contact the Sharpstown Civic Association office at 713-789-2311.


If you are not a resident of Sharpstown and have a question about mosquito spraying in your area, please contact your local Civic or Homeowner’s Association. 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month 


Vaccinate! National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect time to promote immunizations and remind family, friends, and coworkers to get caught up on their shots.
Immunizations (or vaccinations) aren’t just for babies and young kids. We all need shots to help protect us from serious diseases and illness. Everyone age 6 months and older needs a seasonal flu shot every year. Here are some other shots people need at different ages: 


Young children: 

  • Children under age 6 get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis. 

Pre-teens and teens: 

  • Pre-teens need shots at age 11 or 12 to help protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, and HPV (human papillomavirus).
  • Teens need a booster shot at age 16 to help protect them from meningitis.


  • All adults need a booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria.
  • People age 65 or older need a one-time pneumonia shot. 

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which shots you and your family need.


Many organizations are hosting back-to-school immunization and health events where they will offer vaccinations at low or no cost for school aged children.  Check out our Community Events Calendar to look for upcoming events near you.


For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control Website.   

District J Spotlight – Southwest Middle & High School Expands to a Larger Campus


Southwest School - High School Southwest Schools has been a public charter school district serving the academic needs of students since 1999 under the leadership and direction of Dr. Spyros Catechis, Founder/CEO. Southwest Middle & High School is expanding its campus and will be opening its doors on Monday, August 27th to no more than 500 students. The district and campus teams have been working for over a year to make this transition a smooth and seamless one for the Gulfton community. The new building will unveil over 40,000 square feet of computer labs, library, learning pods, science lab, larger classrooms, wider hallways and state of the art technology.  


There are many new programs and partnerships at Southwest Middle & High School that promote student success. For instance, the campus will have an after school and enrichment program from 3:30-5:30 p.m. that begin after the Labor Day weekend. Students can qualify and partake in Project Lead the Way engineering courses supported by Chevron. In addition to PLTW, Chevron is supporting our science lab with powerful lessons, kits and materials through the Jason Project. Financial literacy is met through our involvement with Junior Achievement. Students who meet the AVID requirements can take classes and obtain academic support to prepare them for graduation and post-secondary educational goals. Students interested in attending Southwest Middle & High School can learn more about their potential through E-Colors. Come take the Personality Diversity Indicator (PDI) survey today!


The new Southwest Middle & High School campus is situated on the corner of Hillcroft and Westpark: 6400 Westpark, #200, 77057. Student applications are still being accepted. For additional information about upcoming school year’s enrollment, please feel free to contact Jesus Zepeda or Ada Garcia at 713-954-9528.

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!

August 10

  • IMD PR & Marketing Committee Meeting

August 11   

  • Back to School Fest
  • India House Houston’s Youth Explosion

August 13

  • IMD Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
  • Mid-West Super Neighborhood Meeting 

August 14

  • AARP Chapter 50 Meeting
  • Health Comes First – 2012 Back to School Community Health Fairs
  • IMD – International Business and Land Use Committee Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club  

August 16

  • South Texas College of Law & MOPD Legal Assistance Clinic 
  • Raindrop Turkish House Annual Friendship Dinner with Neighbors  

August 18

  • 2012 Sharpstown Super Neighborhood Council Education, Job, and Health Fair 
  • Houston Area Wood Carvers

August 19

  • 2012 Sharpstown Super Neighborhood Council Education, Job, and Health Fair  

August 20

  • Brays Bayou Association Meeting 

August 21

  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

August 23

  • Mia’s Closet & Baker-Ripley’s Back 2 School Block Party  
  • Sharpstown Civic Association Meeting