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Houston City Scope February 2018

The Bayou Preservation Association participated in the Guatemala Parade as part of its community education initiative to raise awareness about the severe trash problem in the Bering Ditch in Southwest Houston, where many in the Guatemalan community live.


As part of its community education initiative and Trash Free Bayous Program, the Bayou Preservation Association took part in the 4th Annual Guatemala Parade in Southwest Houston on Dec. 16-17 to bring awareness to the trash and pollution issues in the Bering Ditch, a 2.7- mile drainage canal which runs from Westpark Drive north to Buffalo Bayou. The parade, organized by Centro Organizativo Guatemalteco (COGUA) and Southwest American Systems Chamber of Commerce, is a celebration of Guatemalan cultural heritage, independence and contributions to the Houston community. The parade route passed directly over the trash-strewn Bering Ditch, visible below Windswept Drive and Beverly Hill Street.

Hundreds of area residents from nearby apartments and businesses came out to watch the passing parade participants, many in brightly colored folkloric costumes, either on foot or in decked-out trucks that served as floats. Children and adults of all ages came together to show pride for Houston’s Guatemalan community, many of whom live in Southwest Houston within close proximity of the Bering Ditch. Music, song and dance were abundant.

The Guatemala Parade is the brainchild of Roland Gramajo, a native of Guatemala, who is a 20-year resident of the area and a Wisdom High School (formerly Robert E. Lee) graduate. A civic activist and community leader, Gramajo has been instrumental in improving the quality of life for those in Houston’s Guatemalan community. He organized the first parade in 2014 and was able to secure a 2012 proclamation from then-Mayor Annise Parker designating Dec. 17 as “Guatemalan American Holiday.”

In 2016, Gramajo was put in contact with the Bayou Preservation Association about joining its Non-Point Source Pollution Prevention Committee, (NPSPPC) chaired by Bayou Preservation Association board member Richard Cate. The mission of the NPSPPC is to develop short- and long-term strategies to prevent trash from entering the bayous, streams and waterways of the Greater Houston region. Bayou Preservation Association launched the Trash Free Bayous pilot program, targeting the Bering Ditch, one of the most littered waterways in the Houston area and a major contributor of floatable litter in Buffalo Bayou. Examples of large trash items found in this ditch are tires, shopping carts and mattresses.

“When people understand how detrimental this pollution is to all of us, they will learn to make informed choices about trash disposal and hopefully, recycling,” Cate sdaid. “All litter from our watersheds ultimately ends up in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.”


Sandra Crook


Sandra Crook, with Greymark Con­struction Co., was recently appointed to the Greater Houston Builders Asso­ciation’s Remodelers Council Executive Board, overseeing the 2018 Charity Projects. A native Hous­tonian, Crook has volunteered with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 26 years, raising funds for scholarships.

Crook, a design consultant, works with Greymark clients to “create their dream home.”


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