Archive for the ‘Houston Events’ Category

Houston Heights Tower in High Opportunity Area Affordable Senior Living Facility Reaches New Heights with $12-Million Renovation

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Release at Will
Contact: Susan Farb Morris
(713) 805-2608 (cell)

Houston, TX – March 23, 2017 . . . Houston Heights Towers, a 223-unit midrise residence serving low- to moderate-income senior adults, has reached new heights thanks to a $12-million renovation funded by the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department and Community Bank of Texas. The independent senior living facility, which opened in April 1975 at 330 West 19th Street, will have a rededication ceremony Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m. in the heart of The Heights. Mayor Sylvester Turner and The Honorable U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, will be keynote speakers.

“When we built Houston Heights Towers 42 years ago, The Heights was somewhat of a sleepy historic Houston neighborhood. Today, this is a truly vibrant high opportunity area that’s abuzz with retail, banks, restaurants, and medical facilities,” said Tom Forrester Lord, president, The Housing Corporation of Greater Houston, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving housing conditions and conserving neighborhoods. The Houston Housing Management Corporation, a management subsidiary of The Housing Corporation, has managed the property since its inception.

According to Tom McCasland, Director of the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department, the City contributed a $10-million Community Development Block Grant to renovate Houston Heights Towers in 2013. Community Bank provided a $2-million loan to complete the project. The refurbishment included installing all new plumbing, transforming the former cafeteria into a 2,000-square-foot Community Room for social activities, adding a computer room, resurfacing and painting the exterior, adding heavy (four-foot thick) insulation for energy efficiency, new landscaping and refreshing apartments with all-new flooring, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures. The facility remained open throughout the three-year renovation.

Situated on a prime ¾-acre property in the downtown Heights, the eight-story building houses 167 studios, 56 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. Rents range from $435 to $566 per month, including utilities, estimated at 40 percent below market rate. Residents must be age 62 or older, active/independent and earn not more than 60 percent of the Houston area’s median income, which, for a two-person household is $33,240 annually and one-person household, $29,100 annually. The community is open to seniors regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status.

Houston Heights Towers was developed by a consortium led by four Heights churches: Heights Presbyterian, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Heights Christian Church and All Saints Catholic. The idea was to provide a place for neighborhood seniors to retire and stay in The Heights.

Frances Smerinsky, 87, a Houston Heights Towers resident since February 8, 1999, lived on the city’s north side most of her life. After moving to Houston Heights Towers, she sold her car because “I don’t need a car here. I’m close to everything you have to have – a grocery store, drug store, cleaners, bank and doctor are either in walking distance or I take the bus.” Frances has enjoyed her retirement years at Houston Heights Towers, describing her fellow residents as being ‘like one big family.’

Residents enjoy a library stocked with books and videos, exercise equipment, coin-operated laundry facilities, free on-site parking and an emergency call system. Activities include low-impact exercise classes, planned outings and shopping trips, arts and crafts, Bingo, sing-alongs, video club and coffee club.

Property Manager Hope Aguirre, who grew up in The Heights (Travis Elementary, Hogg Jr. High and Regan High School), has worked at Houston Heights Towers since 1980. She started as a housekeeper and was promoted to receptionist, assistant manager and ultimately to manager in 1990.

The renovation was designed by Jim Gwin Architects, Inc. and built by Comanche Contractors. It is one of 30 projects managed by The Housing Corporation in and around Houston since its establishment in 1968. The organization has assisted in the promotion, construction, rehabilitation and management of more than 4,000 residences serving more than 20,000 lower-income citizens by providing critical technical expertise and guidance to access seed money capital.

For further information on Houston Heights Towers, call The Housing Corporation, (713) 526-9470 or (713) 862-8058. # # #

Houston Heights Towers Reaches New Heights with $12-Million Renovation

Houston Heights Towers Reaches New Heights with $12-Million Renovation

Want to Be Buried at Sea and Not Make Waves? Distinctive Life Funeral Homes to the Rescue at Houston Boat Show

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Editor’s Note: Distinctive Life Funeral Homes will host a distinctive, memory-creating booth (#8608 and 8610) at the 2014 Houston Boat Show Jan. 3-12 at Reliant CenterDistinctive Life Funeral Homes Founder Jeff Friedman displays an urn for scattering a loved one's ashes at sea., exhibiting both disintegrating urns for scattering ashes at sea and nautical urns for keeping “ashore.” Distinctive Life Funeral Director Jeff Friedman is available for interview pre- or at the Houston Boat Show to discuss Houston celebration of life trends and some unique stories from his more than 22 years experience as a funeral director. To secure Houston Boat Show media credentials for interviews with Mr. Friedman, please contact Susan Farb Morris.

Media Contact:
Susan Farb Morris Cell: (713) 805-2608 or
Leah Delagarza, Distinctive Life
Cell: (832) 776-9936

HOUSTON – Dec. 16, 2013 . . . A locally owned and operated cremation and funeral services company is helping spread the word — and more – when it comes to the national trend of choosing cremation over traditional burial when deciding on one’s final resting place. According to Houston-based Funeral Director Jeff Friedman, founder of Distinctive Life Funeral Homes, industry projections are on course for one out of two Americans to seek cremation over traditional burial by 2017.

According to Friedman, a past president of the Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association, approximately 42 percent of Americans opt for cremation today, versus 15 percent 20 years ago

“Baby Boomers are all about celebrating life, leaving a smaller footprint and getting customized service. We totally reflect that in our philosophy and practice – doing a total reversal to today’s more standardized corporation-driven funeral industry,” says Distinctive Life’s Friedman. “We customize farewells and celebrations of life in many different settings, with frequent requests being scattering loved ones’ ashes at sea.”

As a funeral services company that celebrates life and lives well lived, Distinctive Life avails its education and community outreach services in non-traditional venues as well, such as the Houston Boat Show. “Boat lovers are fascinated by the idea of having their ashes scattered at sea, but just hadn’t planned ahead to make that happen,” Friedman said.

At the Houston Boat Show, Distinctive Life will exhibit its large seashell and the circle shaped urns that are used at sea. These urns are filled with the loved one’s cremated remains and sealed by the funeral directors, then given to the family. When placed in the water the urns float for a few minutes before slowly sinking to the bottom of the water where they slowly disintegrate. They float long enough for the family to say their parting words and place flowers in the water.

The artistic glass urn is an example of the variety of urns that are designed more like pieces of art. A small amount of the remains are placed at the bottom and this urn can be displayed anywhere and are understated.

Distinctive Life Funeral Homes Founder Jeff Friedman has applied his knowledge and expertise from over the past 22 years in the funeral business to effectively grow within a changing industry. Today, a majority of families are choosing to celebrate the life of their loved one at either the place of worship, or other meaningful places, other than funeral homes. Distinctive Life’s concept is focused on delivering the highest standards of customer service while maintaining a low overhead, thus saving the families thousands of dollars. Their goal is to acknowledge the life lived; the love shared and allows the loved ones to create a meaningful service at an affordable price.

For further information, contact Distinctive Life at or call (713) 585-3535.

Katy Taylor Junior Preps “Pierre” the Pig for Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Katy/Fulshear, TX — Feb. 18, 2013 . . . For the past five months Katy Taylor high school junior Lauren Jones diligently has caught the 5:40 a.m. bus to the Katy ISD FFA barn on Katy-Hockley Road to tend to her pig, “Pierre.” She dutifully has raised her precious porker from a 5-week, 50-pound piglet, to a strapping 225-pounder to exhibit at the school district’s Livestock Show & Rodeo, one of the only remaining high school Livestock Show & Rodeos in Texas.

Lauren’s months of dedicated work, which also includes Pierre’s daily afternoon walk, feeding, bathing and brushing, will culminate at the livestock show, with the Saturday, February 23, 1 p.m. auction being the “Grand Finale.” The auction will be held at the L.D. Robinson Pavilion, 6301 S. Stadium Lane at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.

“Lauren is such a well-rounded student academically, athletically – she plays on the JV basketball team – as an FFA member and as a Firethorne Visitor Center Guide. It’s solid students like her who inspire us year after year to

FFA Student Lauren Jones tends to her pig, Pierre, twice a day, which includes feeding, walking, washing and brushing in preparation for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo.

FFA Student Lauren Jones tends to her pig, Pierre, twice a day, which includes feeding, walking, washing and brushing in preparation for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo.

This isn’t Lauren’s first rodeo; her first pig, George, which she raised her freshman year, earned second place in his class and 6th place overall and sold to the Firethorne Stampede for $2,200, which she has applied to her college fund.
Since 2006, the “Firethorne Stampede” auction team has invested $230,000 in purchasing auction animals, including a Grand Champion Goat, Grand Showman Goat and the Grand Showman Pig, to provide college scholarship funds to Katy ISD FFA students.

Like her older sister, Kathryn, before her, Lauren has funded the purchase and upkeep of Pierre through her job as a Firethorne Visitor Center Guide, working after school, weekends and over the summer. She estimates she invested about $650 to purchase and maintain her pig, i.e. food, shaving, shampoo and brushes.

The 2013 “Firethorne Stampede” participants gearing up for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo are: Allen Boone & Humphries, Ashton Woods Homes, BKD LLP, Bluegrass Maintenance, Canady & Canady, Clark Condon Associates, Clearwater Utilities, Inc., Firethorne, First Southwest Co., Freed Advertising, HBC Terracon, Jefferson Development, Lake Management, Park Construction, RHC Investments, Severn Trent Services, Storm Water Solutions, Susan Farb Public Relations, and Tax Tech, Inc.

A 1,400-acre master-planned community, Firethorne offers a resort-style swimming pool, Firethorne Competitive Swim Center with regulation 6-lane, 25-yard-long lap pool, miles of hike/bike trails, a fully equipped Fitness Center with certified trainer on call, lighted tennis courts with tennis teams and clinics, two sports fields and a new Clubhouse at Firethorne is available to residents for entertaining and meetings.

Firethorne blends with the best nature has to offer: 150 acres devoted to parks and recreational amenities, greenbelts, hike and bike trails, parks and playgrounds, discovery-rich wildlife observation area and a natural bird habitat. Strategically located near the crossroads of the I-10 West corridor, the Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway, 10 and 15 miles west, respectively, of the Texas Medical Center-West Campus and Houston’s Energy Corridor, it is where the vibrancy of West Houston meets the small-town charm of Katy/Fulshear.

Free Spring Book Reading & Book Signing with Author Joe Sutton, “Wanda and the Oblahlahs” at Barnes & Noble River Oaks

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Joe Sutton will sign his children's book, "Wanda and the Oblahlahs" this Sunday, April 29, noon, as part of the St. Anne Catholic School Book Fair.  The reading and signing will be at Barnes & Noble River Oaks, 2030 West Gray.  For info, call 713-522-8538.
WHO: Houston-based Joe Sutton is a successful downtown energy executive who published a children’s book, “Wanda and the Oblahlahs,” (Bright Sky Press) based on a story the dreamed up for his children and has been stored away in the attic for 35 years. The resourceful father, then a U.S. Army Colonel, realized an effective way to get his message across to his children was to tell the girls stories with carefully disguised lessons.

WHEN: Meet Joe Sutton Sunday, April 29, 12 P.M. (Noon) for a “Wanda and the Oblahlahs” Reading and Book Signing – Barnes & Noble River Oaks, 2030 West Gray St., Houston 77019 (713) 522-8571 The FREE reading and book signing will be held as part of St. Anne Catholic School Book Fair.

WHAT: Meet Wanda. She loves chewing gum. She chews gum all day long: while she plays with her dog Moldy and her little brother Rocky, while she’s singing, even during school. And that’s okay with her mother, as long as it’s sugarless gum. Wanda’s parents have one rule about all this gum chewing: every night before she goes to bed, Wanda has to deposit her gum right in the trashcan. But what happens when Wanda’s parents go out to dinner and the babysitter doesn’t know the rule? Sometimes even the best child tries to push the envelope. And sometimes the consequences are surprising. When Wanda goes to sleep with gum in her mouth, the Oblahlahs move in. These colorful little creatures throw such a party in her mouth that she can’t chew gum any more. In fact, she can’t even talk. Her parents can’t help, Rocky and Moldy can’t help, even the doctor is at a loss. It’s all up to her. As Wanda lies in bed trying to rid herself of the pesky Oblahlahs, following the rules starts to seem like a much better idea than it ever has before.

WHY: 1) To remind readers of the power of shared stories to create strong families; &

2) To help support children who may not have loving families to share stories with them, Sutton will donate the proceeds of book sales to Children at Risk to support programs to combat child trafficking. A percentage of the sales that day will go to St. Anne Catholic School as well.

Parent/Child Bonding: Wanda’s misadventures turned story time into a beloved family tradition. The character Sutton dreamed up personified the young girl who did everything she shouldn’t, including chewing her gum all day and night. Sutton’s tales of encounters with the colorful Oblahlahs always made doing the right thing seem like the best choice for his daughters.

History: To Megan’s delight, three years ago she came across the vintage Wanda stories with their original illustrations by her Aunt Jane, a fine artist. They were in her parents’ attic, in tact after the family’s 23 moves. With Megan’s encouragement, her father has published “Wanda and the Oblahlahs” to bring the age-old story back to life for the next generation, including Joe’s five grandchildren. The book will appeal to parents and grandparents who will find that Wanda’s antics do more to illustrate the importance of minding than any amount of parental nagging.

“My father was blessed with the gift of story telling and as far back as I can remember he always put us to bed with a story or two,” said Megan. “I also recall a small tray beside my bed that I would put my gum in before I went to sleep. I didn’t want to get the ‘Oblahlahs!’” # # #


Susan Farb Morris

Susan Farb Public Relations

5203 Braeburn Drive

Bellaire TX 77401
713.661.7377 (office)
 713.805.2608 (mobile)

PR Fairy Says New Dating Show to Cast in Houston This Week

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Here’s a Valentine’s twist. . .A NEW DATING SHOW for maj. network is casting in Houston!!! Looking for overall great women and men who are looking for love. No roses, no multi-dates, just normal one on one dating.
Write them a paragraph about yourself and about where you are with finding love, etc. They ask for two recent pictures of you and tell your name, age, the city and state you live in and your phone #.

Casting directors will be in Houston this week, so reply asap. Men: You are
in your 20s, 30s or 40s * Women: You are in your 20s or 30s *Please email your information to and note that Melissa Villamarin sent you.

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