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In This Issue



This edition of E-Corner highlights the many different ways we make the most of your tax dollars. With a fixed budget, it is a constant struggle to make ends meet, but we're doing that and more.


We make Precinct 4 an excellent place to live through our flood control projects and public health initiatives, as well as our free safety and education programs offered at our parks. And that doesn't even begin to address the more than 2,500 miles of roads we maintain.

I'm proud to bring you this snapshot each month of what we are doing for you in Precinct 4.

Don't forget that you can access past issues of Commissioner's E-Corner on the Precinct 4 website. When you visit Precinct 4 online, you can also learn more about the road projects taking place, as well as the upcoming events at Precinct 4's community centers and parks, and Senior Adult Program activities through Fun4Seniors.



Commissioner R. Jack Cagle
Harris County Precinct 4
Game Room Regulations Get a Boost
Last year, Commissioners Court approved game room regulations to make the county safer. 
The county is celebrating another victory in the fight against illegal game rooms. U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner issued an order Aug. 5 upholding the constitutionality of game room regulations passed by Commissioners Court in December 2013.

The decision comes after a local game room operator filed a lawsuit earlier in May to stop enforcement of the regulations, arguing the regulations were unconstitutional and too vague. Days before the regulations were set to go into effect May 30, the federal judge denied the owner's request for an injunction against the regulations.

Under the regulations, game rooms with six or more gambling machines cannot require membership and must operate with a permit, pay a $1,000 annual fee, and be closed between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Game rooms must also be located at least 1,500 feet from schools, churches, and residential neighborhoods.

To report illegal gambling operations to the Precinct 4 Regulatory Enforcement Unit, visit, click on "On-Line Services," and then click on "Regulatory Violation."


New Flood Mitigation Projects Approved
Jersey Meadows Stormwater Detention Basin, located on a 42-acre site in Jersey Village, holds about 114 million gallons of stormwater. 

We're working closely with the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) on flood mitigation projects throughout the precinct.

In June, Commissioners Court approved $191.4 million worth of flood control projects across the county that can increase property values and lead to economic development. 

With a federal law increasing flood insurance rates, these projects can also help save money for the more than 140,000 Harris County residents who still live in flood zones.

Over the past decade, HCFCD has removed floodplains from 65,000 homes through flood mitigation projects, which can include building new stormwater detention basins, preserving wetlands, reducing erosion along bayous and tributaries as well as establishing guidelines for new developments.


Protect Yourself from Mosquito Borne Diseases
Chikungunya is spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, commonly known as the Tiger mosquitoes. 

Harris County Public Health officials are warning residents to guard against mosquito spread diseases this season.

In northwest Harris County, an Aedes albopictus mosquito, commonly referred to as the Tiger mosquito, tested positive for chikungunya, a non-fatal virus that can cause fever and excruciating joint pain that can last a week or more. Known for their white stripes, the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are the two known carriers of chikungunya. 

The mosquito is the first in Texas to test positive with the virus. The 10 previously infected Texans are believed to have contracted the disease outside the state. Since the mosquito is the first to test positive for the virus, public health officials are conducting additional testing on the sample pool.

In addition, the county found the West Nile virus in 735 mosquito samples and 41 dead birds. So far, nine Harris County residents have been infected with West Nile, which causes high fever and can be fatal. To combat the spread of diseases, the county began aerial spraying areas in northwest and northeast Harris County in August, which will supplement scheduled ground spraying activities across the county.

Harris County Public Health also urges residents to always use mosquito repellents, cover exposed arms and legs, and empty containers of standing water. 


Mercer Presents Lecture Series
Renowned Horticulturist Tony Avent is giving a lecture at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Learn something new from internationally renowned horticulturist Tony Avent during his lecture, "Exploration to Exploitation: The Road from Plant Discovery to Market," at the Houston Museum of Natural Science Thursday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m. at 5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston 77030. 


The lecture is part of a series presented by Harris County Precinct 4 and The Mercer Society (TMS) in partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) in celebration of Mercer's 40th anniversary.

The founder of Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, N.C., Avent will give a behind-the-scenes look at the nursery world and discuss marketing trends that influence the modern American garden.

Avent will give a bonus lecture, "Backyard Beauties: In Search of Overlooked and Exceptional Natives," Friday, September 5 at 10 a.m. 
at Mercer Botanic Gardens, located at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road in Humble, 77338. Avent will discuss forgotten perennial favorites that thrive in the United States.  

Avent, a world traveler and public speaker, has been a member of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Plant Conservation Scientific Committee since 2001 and is the author of So You Want to Start a Nursery. He has also written extensively about gardening in local newspapers and Walter and Horticulture magazines. 


 Precinct 4 in the News!

KHOU 11's Courtney Perna promotes Jones Park's Reptile Open House.

Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center and Mercer Botanic Garden were both stars on KHOU-TV, Channel 11 in July. 

Mercer's Darrin Duling and Scott Meadows talked about their summer programs for kids on Great Day Houston, while Mike Howlett and Lon Goodrum promoted Jones Park's Reptile Open House on the morning news. 

Thanks to reporter Courtney Perna for her great work in helping us get the word out about programs we offer in our parks!

Also, Jesse Jones Park Director Darlene Conley Hostetler was joined by JJP Volunteer President Tom Whitesides on Cox Radio's Sunday morning Public Affairs programs on August 10. Darlene and Tom were heard on three different FM stations: 93Q Country, Classic Country 97.1, and The Eagle 106.9.


Upcoming August/September Activities
Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center:
All About Texas Bats. Sat., Aug. 16, 9 a.m. - noon. Join Texas Parks & Wildlife Urban Wildlife Biologist Diana Foss to discover learn about all the bat species found in Harris County. All ages.


Hunter Education Certification. Sat. or Sun., Aug. 23 or 24, 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. This one-day course meets the mandated Texas Parks & Wildlife Hunter Education requirements for Texas. Materials fee: $15. Ages 9+. Reservations required beginning Wed., Aug. 13 by calling 281-446-8588.


Flying WILD Workshop. Sat., Sept. 6, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This companion to ProjectWILD highlights bird education and conservation through hands-on lessons, activities, and stewardship projects. Meets TEEAC & CEU requirements. A $15 materials fee required. Formal and non-formal educators welcome. Reservations required beginning Wed., Aug. 6 by calling 281-446-8588.


Geocaching. Sat., Sept. 13, 9 a.m. Geocaching is a family-friendly worldwide GPS scavenger hunt, and Jones Park is 'ground zero' for the day's fun! Bring your GPS unit or GPS-enabled smart phone to learn about this play-anywhere game with several courses for varying skill levels. All ages.


Second Saturday Settlers; Spinning and Weaving. Sat., Sept. 13, 1 - 3 p.m. Visit Redbud Hill Homestead to learn how early settlers spun plant and animal fibers into thread and woven fabrics. Join park staff and volunteers as they bring the homestead to life and demonstrate everyday chores. All ages.


Mercer Botanic Gardens:
Children's Story Time in the Garden. Mon, Aug. 18, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Children's Librarian Margo Moore at Baldwin Boettcher, along with Mercer volunteer docents, share some of their favorite nature books with children and their parents for this free program at Mercer gardens. A craft project is included. Check in at the Visitor Center for the specific location. 

Chrysanthemum Society. Fri., Aug. 22, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monthly meetings include discussions about growing chrysanthemums and floral arranging. The Society also provides plants for Mercer's collection. Please call 281-443-8731 for more information. 


Tai Chi for Arthritis. Every Sat., 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Join certified instructor John Spencer for this free beginners class that helps relieve pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia, relieves stress, and improves balance in the calming atmosphere of the garden. Most classes will meet outdoors under the treehouse portico or near Baldwin Boettcher Library.

Lunch Bunch: Orchid Growing 101. Wed., Aug. 13, noon - 2 p.m. Bruce Cameron of The Houston Orchid Society and Orchid Obsession Nursery will teach the basics of orchid care and inform participants of the best varieties to grow in yards and homes.


Lunch Bunch: Tips and Tricks for Bird Identification. Wed., Sept. 10, noon - 2 p.m. Join Gary Clark, an experienced enthusiast with decades of bird study, as he shares his knowledge, tips, and tricks to spot and readily identify birds. For additional information or to make reservations, call Mercer Botanic Gardens at 281-443-8731.


Community Centers/Senior Adult Program:
Senior Adult Program: HMNS Tour. Wed., Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to experience the 12 permanent exhibits on display, including the Hall of Ancient Egypt, the Morian Hall of Paleontology, and the Cullen Hall of Gems & Minerals, before a 2 p.m. Giant Screen Theatre showing of the D-Day: Normandy 1944 film.$15 per person departing from departing from Spring Creek Church of Christ 14847 Brown Road Tomball, Texas 77377.


Senior Adult Program: The Woodlands Waterway  Cruiser Tour. Fri., Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. Enjoy a relaxing, air-conditioned ride while taking in the scenery during this boat tour along The Woodlands Waterway. Tickets are $2 per person in advance for adults 50 years and better. Transportation is available from Jersey Village Baptist Church, located at 16518 Jersey Drive in Jersey Village, which departs at 9:45 a.m. For information about Precinct 4's Senior Adult Program and other events, call 281-893-3726.


Mangum-Howell Center: Fire & Life Safety Seminar. Wed., Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Tom Petty, senior inspector with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, kicks off a new national fire and life safety campaign with help from Cinder, the Labrador retriever. Please call 281-591-7830 or come by the Center to sign up for this class.


Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park: Popcorn and a Movie. Wed., Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. Come to the Center to enjoy a free movie, popcorn, and a drink! The September featured movie is Catch Me If You Can


Big Stone Lodge at at Dennis Johnston Park: Save a Life ... Learn CPR. Wed., Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. Lorraine Hibbert, a certified instructor through the American Heart Association, leads this class for ages 14 years and older. The two-year certification fee is $15. Space is limited. Please call 281-350-1029 to receive additional information.

Mangum-Howell Center: Genealogy 101. Wednesdays at 10 a.m., beginning Sept. 3. Discover your family roots with volunteer instructor, Lucille Le'Obia. The class includes a field trip to Clayton Research Library to have hands-on research experience. Class size is limited!


Mangum-Howell Center: Italian Luncheon. Tues., Sept. 9 at noon. Come join us for a fine Italian lunch including lasagna, crisp salad, vegetable medley, fresh garlic bread, and delectable Italian crème cake, along with all the iced tea and coffee you can drink! The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, September 5. For more information regarding classes or other Center programs, please call 281-591-7830.

Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park: Nutrition Series, Part One. Wednesdays, Sept. 10, 17, and 24 at 2 p.m. This three-part nutrition series will teach participants techniques to help manage weight and prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, while encouraging healthy food preparation. Earn a Texas A&M Agrilife certificate upon completion of all three seminars. Call Big Stone Lodge at 281-350-1029 to register for this free seminar or to receive additional information.


Senior Adult Program: Chappell Hill Lavender Farm Tour. Fri., Sept. 5 departing at 8 a.m.  Experience the beauty and charm of this delightful farm and visit the Lavender Patch gift shop. Transportation is available for individuals, ages 50 years and better from Champion Forrest Baptist Church, 15555 Stuebner Airline. Call the Senior Adult Program at 281-893-3726 for more information.


Senior Adult Program: Grandparent's Day Luncheon. Fri., Sept. 5 at 11:30 a.m. Adults 50 years of age and better are invited to the Greenwood Forest Residents Club, located at 12700 Champion Forest Drive, for a luncheon featuring jazz music and lunch from Ben's Chuck Wagon in honor of all grandparents for a $10 per person suggested donation. Call the Senior Adult Program at 281-893-3726 for more information.


Mangum-Howell Center: Patio Plant Exchange. Wed., Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. Share gardening tips and ideas and learn about the plants flourish in northwest Harris County while meeting the gardeners who nurture them. Call 281-591-7830 or come by the Center to register.


Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

Harris County Precinct 4
1001 Preston, Suite 950

Houston, Texas 77002

By phone:  713-755-6444

By fax:   713-755-8801


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