Well my friends, we have almost made it through 2020 and that is a reason to be grateful.
We all know this year has been one for the record books, full of firsts, extraordinary, and unprecedented in our lifetime. This year has been tough for many with so many losses but also so many gains. Through it all I have been amazed to see the positive attitude of so many in our community.
This holiday season will be different than how we typically celebrated; yet we have the opportunity to make this holiday no less special than those of the past. I have chosen to focus on gratitude and I hope you will join me.
As I have driven through our city I have looked at it with an eye of thankfulness and noting those things. Our beautiful parks and trails, kids playing on the sports fields, drive-by birthday and anniversary celebrations, our safe city, beautiful sunsets, City employees working on projects like Kids Kastle and street improvements, our local retailers offering curbside services, restaurants offering to-go and family meals so we can safely enjoy a good meal together, and the generous spirit of so many helping others in need.
I love our City and so much here brings me joy. What is it about Highland Village that brings you joy? I encourage you to slow down and look around with a focus on the things in which you are thankful.
The Highland Village Police and Fire departments have teamed up to bring the annual toy and food drive online this year. Now is the time to share some joy with others in our community and it is easier than ever. Just go to www.highlandvillage.org/toydrive, select a nonprofit you’d like to support and you will see their MyRegistry Wishlist where you can make a purchase that will be sent directly to the organization. We have been told there is more of a need than ever to help these organizations so they can provide Christmas cheer to those right here in our community. Our public safety toy drive has always been successful because of your generosity and I have no doubt the online drive will be just as successful.
As you are planning your holiday shopping and family meal preparations, remember to shop our local retailers, dine at our local eateries and purchase your food and beverages at our local stores. We have a lot to offer you in Highland Village and our retailers are doing their part to provide you options to stay safe. As you make your shopping list, I encourage you to check the Highland Village Business Association’s online directory at www.thehvba.com. The directory is separated into categories that include Shop, Taste, Go, Play and Do and every brick and mortar building in the City is included. The holiday shopping season offers you an opportunity to discover the stores of Highland Village.
If you are looking for a special holiday gift this year, consider a Sgt. Dennis Oliver Remembrance Shirt. As many of you know, Dennis Oliver passed away on October 2 from complications related to COVID. To help ease the financial burden, a volunteer created a shirt in honor of Dennis and a sponsor paid for the cost of the shirts. When you purchase a shirt, 100% of the funds will go straight to Dennis’ family. You can purchase a shirt at Megan’s Lifestyle Boutique in The Shops at Highland Village or online at www.meganslifestyleboutique.com/sgt-dennis-oliver-end-of-watch. The shirts are $25 each and come in adult sizes small to 3X. Sgt. Dennis Oliver was truly special – it only took meeting him once to realize how much he genuinely cared for others.
The Fire Department is bringing Santa to our neighborhoods again this year. We are working with Santa to determine his exact routes, but plan to see him in Highland Village December 13 through December 18 between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each evening. The Fire Department Facebook page and the City website will have the details plus the link to the Santa Tracker so you can keep track of when Santa will be on your street.
Our Parks Department has been working hard to bring you holiday cheer at Doubletree Ranch Park. All through the month of December you can stroll through the park and view the holiday lights and decorations. What a fun way to spend time with your family.
Kids Kastle is so close to completion. I am excited for you all to see the playground and your kids playing on it. There is still time to purchase a personalized fence picket for placement at the playground. We have a limited number of fence pickets available. Each picket can be purchased for $250. If you’d like to purchase a fence picket personalized with your family or business name, please complete the form found at hvparks.com/KidsKastle and follow the instructions. Pickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.
I’m often asked about trash pickup during the holidays. Community Waste Disposal will not provide service on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Trash pickup will run as scheduled Monday through Thursday on Christmas and New Year’s week. Friday’s collection will be picked up on Saturday for both weeks. Remember CWD will pick up recycling outside the container up to one cubic yard which is great for the additional boxes!
Not a much talked about topic, but winter averaging for your monthly sewer bill is now underway. The average water usage is determined using a resident’s lowest three out of four months (December through March). This average is compared each month to actual water usage, with the lower of the two being used to determine sewage charges.
If you are using a live Christmas tree this year, remember when Christmas is over and you’re ready to put your house back to normal, you can drop off your live tree (minus the decorations of course) in the Brazos Park parking lot. Live trees will be accepted for recycling between December 26 and January 3.
When you are out shopping this holiday season consider the safety of you and your family. Remember to be aware of your surroundings when you are shopping. Never leave valuables or your gifts in plain sight in your car. Always lock your car and remember to take your keys with you. I am surprised every year to learn how many of us take the safety of our city for granted and leave valuables and even our keys in an unlocked car. When we do this we become easy targets for theft.
As I close out this final message of 2020, remember the power of gratitude exists in how we use it to find joy in our work, home life, and aspirations for the future. I hope you find moments of true gratitude for where you are, what you have, and what comes next. Let’s close out 2020 with a mindset of thankfulness.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all!