City Seal
From the Office of Council Member Mike Laster 
t Journal
Official Newsletter of Houston City Council District J

Friday, March 22, 2013
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 Services

Ahmad Chughtai
Agenda & Policy Director

Sharon Shanahan
Administrative Services Director

Community Links

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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A Good Day for District J  


HBU Huskies I am thrilled to relay to you that this past Wednesday, City Council unanimously approved an agreement to help Houston Baptist University redevelop the northern 30 acres of its campus located at the intersection of Fondren Road and the US 59 Frontage road.


Specifically, the City, the Sharpstown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) and HBU entered into a 380 Development Agreement that will aid HBU's efforts to reposition and renovate this portion of its campus. The agreement envisions that HBU will redevelop the property by using $160 Million Dollars of its own capital. The plan calls for the University to use their money to construct a hotel and conference center, a 5000 seat performance venue and arena, retail and office buildings and public use tennis court facilities. The hotel and conference center will be able to serve the needs of the patrons of our neighborhood hospital, those who attend activities that take place in the adjacent arena and returning alumni and fans of the university's soon to begin college football program. Additionally, HBU will construct public improvements for the project that will include a flood detention lake, public utilities and public streets and landscaping improvements. During the eight year term of the Agreement HBU will be able to receive a tax credit for the costs of their construction of the public improvements. The tax credit will equal the lesser amount of the actual cost of construction of the improvements or $4,430,000. Further, HBU has agreed to make sure the property retains its current taxable status for 30 years beyond the end of the Agreement thereby cementing its position as a revenue producing venue for the City and its taxpayers. Finally, the Agreement calls for HBU to hire and maintain a workforce of 150 to 200 people to service the facilities.


So, for a little more than $4 million, the City's taxpayers will receive needed public improvements, a baseline investment of $160 million of taxable value added to the area, a new hotel and conference center that will generate competition with and other local hotels and hence encourage their renovation. In other words, it will create an attractive new business and commercial venue which will provide good jobs. These investments have the capacity to provide significant economic benefits to our area for years to come.


All in all, I would say that makes for "a good day for District J!"


Allow me to thank HBU President Robert Sloan, Jr., and campus development directors Charles Bacarisse and R. E. "Corkey" Dragoo for their ongoing commitment to this portion of District J and for their vision of making a better neighborhood for all of us. Thanks also to Chairman Welcome Wilson, Jr., Executive Director Bill Calderon, and the Board of Directors of the Sharpstown TIRZ for working so hard to make our area a better place to live and work. Finally, kudos to Mayor Parker, and Andy Icken, the City's Development Director and his staff for helping this agreement come to pass.


See you on campus!

    Mike Laster - signature
- Mike Laster, Council Member - District J

Free ID Theft Prevention Information and Document Shredding at S Gessner Station 


The Houston Police Department and the Department of Neighborhoods are offering free ID theft prevention information and document shredding at the South Gessner Station located at 8605 Westplace Drive, 77071, this Saturday, March 23, from 8am to noon.  


For more information, please call 832-393-0955, email or visit

Registration to Open for HMNS Xplorations Summer Camp 


General Public registration for the Houston Museum of Natural Science 2013 Xplorations Summer Camp opens on Monday, March 25.  This year's program offers more sensational science than ever before at both the Main and Sugar Land Campuses.   


Xplorations Summer Science Adventures are week-long, hands-on science summer camps featuring science activities for children ages 6 to 12 years of age. Camps are held Monday though Friday from 10am to 3pm. Early morning and afternoon care is also available.  Please click here for more information on camp policies, registration, FAQs, and other camp topics.   

REMINDER:  Gulfton Super Neighborhood Meeting is Monday, March 25 


Time flies and a month has already passed.  That means the next Gulfton Super Neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 25 at 6:30pm at the Burnet Bayland Park Community Center located at 6000 Chimney Rock.   


We encourage all Gulfton are residents, business owners, and community leaders to join us.   

SCA Spring Cleaning Day     


The Sharpstown Civic Association's Beautification Committee is proud to sponsor a Spring Cleaning Day on Saturday, April 13. At 9:00am, volunteers will gather at the parking lot on Fondren south of US 59, next to Burger King. You will be assigned a fun and important project within our Sharpstown community boundaries. With enough help no job is too big!   


Adults, teenagers and children are all welcome.   As Sharpstown has just celebrated its 58th birthday, lots of areas are in need of a makeover. Of course, the more Sharpstown residents that come out, the more lovely our neighborhood will become. We have a growing list of projects ranging from weed removal, trash pick-up, vacant lot cleaning, leaf gathering, replanting gardens, reviving a neglected park, removal of old signs and so much more. Students and faculty from Houston Baptist University along with a group of local Latter Day Saints Missionaries have generously committed to help us.


HBU has a volunteer day each semester where local organizations benefit from their gift of time. One of the primary duties of a Mormon missionary is to be of service to the community. We plan to end by 1:00pm, but some projects may take longer and those willing can continue working. If you are aware of a project that you'd like to see put on the list, please email Charmaine LeBlanc at: or call 281.687.1323. Each project will be prioritized and evaluated to determine the supplies and manpower required to complete it. Last minute projects may not be added because they may require advanced preparation.

District J Spotlight:
Have You Heard the Buzz about the Bumble Bee Resale Shop?


Earlier this year, the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center launched its new Bumble Bee Resale Shop with great success. The resale shop is run by students of Neighborhood Center's Family Literacy program, because they are committed to pursuing retail job training and entrepreneurship. The shop provides valuable work experience, such as donation intake, sorting, pricing, inventory, cash flow, floor maintenance, register, and displays. The curriculum for the program includes topics such as understanding customer service, retail mathematics and technology in the workplace. Students who graduate from the program will acquire job-readiness skills to ensure their success and obtain the necessary skills to start their own business.


The Bumble Bee resale shop offers gently-worn clothing for children ages infant to 7 years. Moreover, the shop recently diversified donation intake to accept maternity clothes and women's business suits. As of the end of February, the shop managers have already collected over $5000 in donations.  


Shop hours are Monday - Thursday from 12 pm to 3 pm, Friday 9 am- 1 pm and Saturday from 10am to 1 pm. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Claudia Duran at 713-273-3738.   

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!

March 22

  • Houston Public Library 35th Annual Bargain Book Sale begins (through 3/24) 
  • KOC Lenten Fish Fry  

March 23

  • Alief Family YMCA 1st Annual Nightclub Cardio Dance-A-Thon 
  • Alief Family YMCA Easter Egg Hunt 2013 
  • ECHOS Food Fair 
  • Houston Arboretum 1st Annual Spring Fling 
  • ID Theft Prevention and Free Document Shredding 

March 24

  • Palm Sunday  

March 25

  • GSMD Board Meeting
  • Gulfton Super Neighborhood Meeting
  • HMNS Xplorations Summer Camp Registration begins 
  • IMDB Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Meeting  

March 26

  • Alief Super Neighborhood Meeting 
  • Baker-Ripley Eggstravaganza & Pakistan Day 
  • Passover begins (through 4/2)
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club 

March 28

  • Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday
  • Sharpstown Civic Association Meeting 

March 29

  • Good Friday 
March 31
  • Easter Sunday 

April 1

  • April Fool's Day
  • Braeburn Super Neighborhood Meeting 

April 2

  • Sharpstown Rotary Club 
April 4
  • AARP Chapter 4418 Meeting 
  • Alief AARP Chapter 3264 Meeting 
  • Miller Outdoor Theater 2013 Season Begins 

April 6

  • Houston Arboretum Earth Day Celebrations 
  • Keep Houston Beautiful Day