March 2019

As winter ends and we enjoy longer, sunnier days, I encourage you to head outside and explore your parks! 

During this special time of year, Mercer Botanic Gardens hosts its annual March Mart Plant Sale Friday , March 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, March 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This annual two-day event specializes in rare and unusual plants, with plant experts available on site to answer all your gardening-related questions. What better way to celebrate spring than with new plants for your garden!

At Precinct 4’s annual Shakespeare Festival, celebrate the work of the world’s greatest playwright with a day dedicated to live theater, delicious food, street performers, face painting, and games at Burroughs Park.    You might even catch me on the stage as Spearholder No. 2 in Precinct 4’s family-friendly, fast, fun, and free performance of Two Gentlemen of Verona . Hope to see you there!

During Nature4Health, our newest festival at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve, learn how to stay healthy while enjoying the outdoors. This event spotlights some of the healthy and free activities we provide in Precinct 4 parks, such as archery, canoeing, fishing, and more. If you can’t attend, don’t worry. Your Trails As Parks staff provide popular recreational activities daily, along with seasonal programs throughout the year, including a Wildflower Walk at Pundt Park and blackberry jam-making at Dennis Johnston Park in March and April. 

I hope you enjoy the great lineup of events we have for you this spring! You can learn more about these events and activities in this edition of Commissioner's E-Corner .

As a reminder, you can access past issues of  Commissioner's E-Corner on the  Precinct 4 website. Visit Precinct 4 online to learn more about our road projects and upcoming events available through our community centers, parks department, and Senior Adult Program.
Featured Articles
Shakespeare Festival at Burroughs Park

Join Harris County Precinct 4 and The Bard himself for a full weekend of food, games, and live Shakespeare theater Saturday, April 13, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Burroughs Park, 9738 Hufsmith Road in Tomball.

Precinct 4 will present performances of Two Gentlemen of Verona on Friday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. ; Saturday, April 13, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ; and S unday, April 14, at 2 p.m.

Preparing for March Mart at Mercer Botanic Gardens

Planning a garden but don’t know where to start?

With spring around the corner, it’s time to develop a game plan. Remember, plants are an investment. With the proper care and in the right location, they can bring long-lasting beauty to your yard.

Choosing quality plants from a trusted source is also important. Sickly plants are less likely to survive the summer and could even spread disease to healthy plants. Enjoy effortless beauty by selecting hardy natives and plants known to thrive in the Gulf Coast region.

For a wide selection of hardy and rare plants, consider making your next plant purchase at the March Mart Plant Sale at Mercer Botanic Gardens Friday, March 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, March 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn more about how to plan your garden by clicking here.
Ceremony Honors Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve Founder

We’re excited to announce that the boat dock at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve has been named in honor of Linn J. Smyth for her contributions to the park!

County officials surprised Smyth with the announcement in a ceremony on March 10. Smyth, who formed the nonprofit, Friends of the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve, spent more than 15 years working to turn the 80-acre greenspace into a park. In that time, she worked with three different property owners and Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle to establish the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. 

Thanks to her efforts, the preserve opened to the public on April 1, 2017. Today, the park serves as one of Precinct 4’s anchor parks, offering scout activities, field trip tours, senior adult tours, recreational water activities, environmental education, wildlife viewing, and more.

Thank you, Smyth, for helping bring this beautiful park to the public!
Bandits, Beware

Bandits should think twice before putting up signs at an intersection or dumping an old couch on a dead-end road.

A new Precinct 4 partnership with the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office is tackling illegal dumping and bandit-sign hot spots by taking to the streets. 

The new collaboration between Precinct 4 and the Precinct 4 Constable’s Environmental Crimes Unit allows Precinct 4 Road & Bridge crews to work directly with constables to deter placement of bandit signs and illegal dumping in various hot spots. These hot spots often include dead-end roads, barricaded streets, and dark, undeveloped property. 

Special-Education Students Volunteer to Remove Invasive Species from Jones Park Trail

Students in Humble ISD’s Mosaic program are making a difference at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center!

Students in the program, which serves special-education students over 18, have committed one year to removing invasive species and clearing the area along the River Birch Trail, as part of Jones Park’s Adopt-A-Trail Program!

With the removal of this dense vegetation, sunlight will be able to reach the forest floor and allow native seedlings to sprout, creating a healthier, more diverse ecosystem at Jones Park.

Houston TranStar Flood Warning System Wins Awards

Exciting news! Houston-area motorists can now avoid high-water locations on local streets using a new flood warning feature on Houston TranStar’s real-time traffic map. 

During Hurricane Harvey, first responders and the public had no conclusive information about flood conditions on local streets. While the TranStar Traffic Map uses a camera-system along freeways to detect flooded locations, no such warnings existed on local roads.

To improve safety along roadways outside the camera network, Houston Transtar partnered with the Harris County Flood Control District to take the rainfall data from the Harris County Flood Warning System’s more than 170 rain gauges around the county.

Commissioner Cagle Earns Safe School Award

Commissioner R. Jack Cagle was recently selected to receive the Safe School Award from Houston Crime Stoppers because of his continued support of the Safe School Institute.

Since its inception in 1997, the Safe School Institute has provided free, year-round crime prevention programs for more than 1 million students throughout the Greater Houston area. 

The program has also assisted law enforcement in solving 1,885 cases and removing 280 weapons from Harris County middle and high schools. Since 2009, the program has helped law enforcement seize more than $25,000 in drugs and stolen property from middle and high school students.

For more information on the Safe School Institute, click here
Upcoming Events
Wildflower Wanderings at Pundt Park

Take a walk with Trails As Parks and discover the wildflowers growing at Pundt Park Thursday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Learn different parts of a flower through a hands-on activity. Wear outdoor appropriate clothing and bring a refillable water bottle. Click here to register. 
Jam Sessions at Dennis Johnston Park

Jam out with us Friday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to noon at Dennis Johnston Park! Learn how to make blackberry jam from the wild berries that grow along the Spring Creek Greenway. Please bring a jelly jar and wear comfortable closed-toed shoes. Ages 18 and up only. Click here to register. 
Nature4Health at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve

Embrace the outdoors during this festival featuring a sampling of recreational activities offered in Precinct 4 parks Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. Visit local nature and health exhibitors to learn about how the outdoors can make you healthier. Free fun for all ages. Registration is not required.