The District J Journal – September 7, 2012

City Seal
From the Office of Council Member Mike Laster 

District Journal

Official Newsletter of Houston City Council District J

Friday, September 7, 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

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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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Remembering 9-11-01


Remember I suppose that every generation of Americans has had some event that galvanized the nation into action. The burning of Washington in the War of 1812 or the sinking of the Maine in the Spanish-American War comes to mind. Having been born in the early 1960’s my generation was called upon by our parents and grandparents to “Remember Pearl Harbor”.


Now this current generation has its own date with destiny: 9-11-01. 


I am sure that each of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day. I can still recall a distinct feeling that I had been kicked in the gut. I couldn’t seem to convince myself the events I was watching on television were real. I guess it was a type of numb hope that it all was just a bad dream from which I would soon awake. Of course it was all too tragically real.


To be sure, as individuals and as a nation and people we have been transformed by the events of 9-11.


As we approach the eleventh anniversary of that terrible day, let us pause to remember where we were and just how we felt. Let’s remember the scenes as they played out so that we never forget the horror of that day. Let’s remember the countless victims, their families and their legacies. Let’s remember the courageous first responders – those fire-fighters, police and other emergency personnel who instinctively ran toward the scenes of the chaos prepared to render the aid for which they had been so ably trained to perform. Let’s remember the heroic citizens that sacrificed themselves over the farmlands of Pennsylvania in order to prevent further bloodshed and mayhem. Let’s remember the thousands of men and woman of our armed forces that have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives, and those who continue to daily sacrifice themselves and their families’ fortunes for our safety and our common good. Then, let’s dare to allow those memories to move us to re-dedicate ourselves to serving our nation and our community – in honor of each of them. 

Mike Laster - signature 

– Mike Laster, Council Member – District J   

First Priority Wants to Help Your Community Grow 


First Priority Logo

First Priority is an initiative from ten community health centers, many in District J, with the mission to improve Houston’s health, one family at a time. Their Health Ambassador program transforms everyday residents into active community leaders by equipping them with community engagement and health education skills.   


By becoming a Health Ambassador, you will:


1. Gain the Skills

Attend trainings and learn how to engage your community and discuss key health topics like healthy eating, keeping your children healthy and preventing disease. Become an advocate and share your knowledge with your community and be a resource to them.


2. Be an Advocate

After each training session, you will be asked to host a house meeting related to what you learned. The meeting can be held in homes, churches, community centers, or any other space where your friends, family and neighbors can feel comfortable discussing health topics. Ambassadors will also help families become healthier by providing referrals to community health centers.


3. Become Part of a Movement

  • By committing 5-10 hours per month, you will become a leader in your community.
  • After attending the five trainings and hosting five house meetings, you will gain certification as an official First Priority Health Ambassador.
  • Receive gift cards for hosting house meetings and prizes for referring patients.

All trainings sessions are bilingual (English/Spanish) and free food/drinks are provided. Childcare is available upon request.


Training Dates (6-8pm)

September 19, 2012

September 26, 2012

October 24, 2012

November 14, 2012


RSVP at or contact Mando Rayo at 512-501-4971 ext. 703 or

METRO’s “Adopt-A-Stop” Program Aims to Keep Communities Beautiful & Safe 


METRO Passenger Shelter METRO’s Adopt-A-Stop and Adopt-A-Shelter programis a joint effort between Metro Police and community volunteers to help fight vandalism and suspicious or criminal activity within your community. Individuals, civic groups and local businesses are encouraged to do their part by “adopting” a bus stop or passenger shelter within their community.  By keeping neighborhood bus stops and passenger shelters clean, the chance for criminal activity in your area is greatly reduced.  As a member of Metro’s Adopt-A-Stop and Adopt-A-Shelter programs, you have the power to help keep your community safe and clean. 


METRO bus shelters aim to provide passengers with a safe, pleasant and comfortable place to rest while waiting for the bus.  And with nearly 12,000 bus stops scattered across the Houston region, 1,980 featuring passenger shelters, keeping each location clean is a difficult task.  Unfortunately, vandalism is a growing problem across the region.  When vandals “tag” a METRO bus stop or passenger shelter with graffiti, it becomes an eyesore for the community and a potential site for criminal activity. 


Getting started with the program is as easy as picking up the phone.  Volunteer to help secure your neighborhood today by calling 713-635-4000 to Adopt-a-Stop or Adopt-a-Shelter.  Together, we can help keep your neighborhood clean and reduce the chance of criminal activity before it begins.

Bike Safety Tips from Texas Crime Prevention Association 


Bike Safety With school back in session, many students are choosing to ride their bikes to campus. Many District J residents are also riding their bikes to get some exercise and save gas money. In order to stay safe there are rules you have to follow. You are not alone out there and you have to be careful. You have to watch out for other bike riders, pedestrians, motorists and animals. You can avoid most accidents just by using your head and plain common sense. Here are some tips provided by the Texas Crime Prevention Association:

  • Always wear a helmet. You should check for proper fit. If it’s too loose it won’t protect you. You can get extra padding to tighten it up from a local bike shop.
  • Wear clothes that fit properly. Loose clothes can easily get snagged in bike wheels and gears, causing injury. Make sure shoes laces are tied. Installing a chain guard can also help prevent snags.
  • You should avoid riding after dark, but if you must, remember the easier it is for motorists to see you, the safer you are. Wear bright light colored clothing and install reflectors on your bike and helmet. Mount a headlight to the front of the bike and make sure all lights are functioning properly before heading out. If they aren’t, don’t ever chance it!
  • Remember your bike is a vehicle on the road and is subject to traffic laws. When riding on the road, you should go the SAME direction as traffic but stay as close to the right hand side of the road as you safely can. Use proper hand signals when turning or coming to a stop. Stop at every red light and stop sign.
  • If you are riding on a sidewalk or bike/walk path, you should stay to the right and yield to pedestrians. You should get off your bike and walk it across streets at crosswalks. Make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the roadway.
  • If you have to carry items with you, it is best to wear a backpack or use a basket on your bike. You should keep your hands free for steering.
  • Keep your bike in good condition. It should properly adjust to fit you and the tires should be fully inflated to the recommended PSI. The brakes should also be in good working order.
  • When not riding, be sure to secure your bike with a lock to prevent theft.

For more information on bicycle safety and other safety and crime prevention tips, please visit the Texas Crime Prevention Association website

Voluntary Homeless Feeding Registration Program 


Many District J residents have had questions about the new Voluntary Homeless Feeding Registration program.  The City of Houston’s Health and Human Services Department has recently announced guidelines and information explaining this program.  There is also a useful “FAQ” covering the most commonly asked questions about the program. 

Click here to read more about this program and how you can sign up

District J Spotlight – Southwest Multi-Service Center  


Gold Star The City of Houston’s Southwest Multi-Service Center is in the heart of the Gulfton area and is one of District J’s Super Stars in the community.  The Multi-Service Center houses many offices of City of Houston departments and services including:

  • Houston Public Library Express
  • Vaccine Clinic
  • Vital Statistics Office
  • Resource Center
  • Mayor’s Citizens’ Assistance Office
  • Houston Food Bank 
  • and much more! 

The Multi-Service Center is located at 6400 High Star, off Hilcroft.  For more information, please visit their website or call (713) 778-6520.  

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!

September 7

  • First day to apply for Vote By Mail
  • International District – Environmental & Urban Design Committee Meeting   

September 8

  • Children’s Health Day 2012
  • Day of Health 2012 / Un Dia de Salud 2012 

September 10 

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

September 11 

  • Patriot Day
  • AARP Chapter 50 Meeting
  • Brays Oaks Management District Bi-Monthly Breakfast
  • Chief’s Citywide PIP Meeting
  • Houston Metropolitan Chamber Happy Hour
  • IMD – International Business and Land Use Committee Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club  

September 12 

  • Houston Metropolitan Chamber – Learn & Earn: Fitness in the Fast Line
  • Sharpstown Super Neighborhood Council Meeting    

September 13

  • Asian Chamber of Commerce September Luncheon
  • Braeburn Valley West Board Meeting
  • Sustainable Cities Conference 

September 15  

  • Houston Area Wood Carvers
  • Houston LibroFest!  
  • Museum District Day  

September 17

  • Brays Bayou Association Meeting 

September 18

  • Braeburn PIP Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club 

September 19

  • Midwest Division PIP Meeting 

September 20

  • 13th Annual Golden Ball
  • Mobile Eye Clinic at India House Houston
  • Westside PIP Meeting 

September 21

  • Houston West Chamber of Commerce Annual Health and Wellness Luncheon

September 22

  • Dotson Family Park Fall Festival