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Houston settles suit against developer for $225000 for destroying 2 trees

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At her weekly press conference following the City Council meeting, Mayor Parker announced that it had settled a lawsuit with a developer for destroying 2 ancient trees in the public right of way in Midtown for $225,000. The Mayor stated that the settlement will serve to remind developers and all concerned that Houston intends to preserve its valuable green spaces. In this case, the developer cut the trees down on a Saturday, apparently knowing that the act was illegal and expecting that the City would not take action.

Mayor Parker also announced new competitive art scholarships for high school juniors and seniors. The City of Houston is proud to work with Houston Area Partners to offer students the opportunity to reach for excellence by drawing inspiration from their own neighborhoods, their own culture, and the people they know.” Said Mayor Parker.

“Our aim is to not only promote higher education through scholarships but also to encourage collaboration among high school fine arts departments from throughout the region to create more resources and opportunities for our students.” said Mark Cueva, Office of Education Initiatives Manager.

Students are invited to submit works in a contest by February 15, 2014. Next spring, Houston Area Partners will convene a jury panel composed of district fine arts administrators and other experts to evaluate contest entries. "We are excited about this one-day event that will bring together fine arts administrators, high school art teachers, students, and their families, community sponsors and representatives of Texas Colleges and Universities" said Mary Mettenbrink of Houston Area Partners.

The Council earlier heard the monthly financial reports from Comptroller Green and Finance Director Dow. It also appointed or reappointed members of the General Appeals Board, a member of the Hobby Area Management District, the Houston Forensic Science LGC Inc Board of Directors, Houston First.

Most of the 66 items on the agenda were routine purchases of equipment, storage and drainage projects, and approval of ongoing contracts. The controversial ordinance on payday lending was tagged, An amendment to a proposed ordinance regulating wrecker drivers and vehicle storage lots tagged last week was discussed at length in debate, but tagged and postponed until next week.

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