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Posts published in “Day: August 19, 2021

Pct. 2 developing Community Plans

Seeks input from Highlands, Lynchburg, McNair, Linus

PCT. 2 HARRIS COUNTY – Commissioner Adrian Garcia is heading an effort to develop a Community Plan for each of the neighborhoods in his precinct, to guide future development and improve quality of life issues.

Last week he held ZOOM meetings with interested members of the public, to introduce his design team, to explain the scope of the planning project, and to encourage residents to participate in the planning process.

On Wednesday evening he focused on the Highlands and Lynchburg communities, and on Thursday he met with member of the McNair and Linus communities. Previously he had held a meeting with the Channelview residents.

Planning teams involve urban planning professionals, and members of the Pct. 2 and Harris County staffs. Gretchen Knowles and Jorge Bustamante lead the group in this area. Goals of the group will be to develop a shared vision to enhance quality of life, identify infrastructure and community enhancing projects, and develop strategies to implement the vision through tangible projects.

Areas of focus will include parks and open spaces, connectivity, mobility and transportation, environmental quality, economic development, and cultural assets.

The process will include data collection, public participation, and concept development, then an implementation plan. The final plan will be developed through a citizen Task Force working with the Planning professionals.

State Senator Alvarado filibusters to block Voter Restriction bill

Senator Carol Alvarado speaking at the Texas Legislature during her 15-hour filibuster.

Texas Senate outlasts 15-hour filibuster by Senator Carol Alvarado to pass GOP voting restrictions bill

AUSTIN, Texas — Since before sunset Wednesday, state Sen. Carol Alvarado had been on her feet speaking, not allowed to sit or lean against her desk, on the Senate floor.

Unable to take bathroom breaks or drink water, she had worn a back brace, eyeglasses and running shoes and talked slowly behind a desk stacked with papers and with a microphone in her hand as she mounted a 15-hour filibuster. The target of her efforts was Senate Bill 1, the GOP’s priority bill that would place new restrictions on voting that many opponents say would disproportionately suppress ballots from voters of color and disabled voters.

But ultimately, her speaking marathon could only delay the passage of the bill in the Republican-controlled Senate. Shortly after she finally stepped away from her desk around 9 a.m., the Senate voted to advance the measure on a 18-11 party-line vote.

With her Democratic colleagues surrounding her desk on the Senate floor after her marathon, Alvarado invoked her Houston constituents – the voters who took advantage of the voting options SB 1 would ban – and asked why they should not be allowed as many opportunities to vote as the county was willing to offer.

GC Superintendent tells Chamber of School plans

Goose Creek Superintendent Randal O’brien at the Highlands/Lynchburg monthly luncheon.

HIGHLANDS – The Chamber of Commerce returned to their regular monthly luncheons last Thursday, after a long hiatus due to the COVID Pandemic.

The featured speaker was Goose Creek CISD Superintendent Randal O’brien, who told the audience about a number of initiatives and projects to be accomplished in the coming school year.

Due to continued population growth, the school district is adding three new schools and other support facilities. O’brien said there are currently 23,000 students, 1800 teachers, and a total of 3200 employees in the system, with 28 current schools.

Abbott sued over mask mandate ban

A growing number of school districts, counties and cities have defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike due to the delta variant and a low rate of vaccination among Texans.

As KUT.org reported, officials in Dallas and Bexar counties won a first round in court in requiring masks in public schools and most government buildings. School districts in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, among others, are requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are appealing the initial district court decisions and have vowed to sue any government official who defies the governor’s order.

HOSPITALIZATIONS, COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Meanwhile, the number of new cases of COVID-19, overwhelmingly among unvaccinated Texans, continues to rise with 98,383 reported in the past week along with 628 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are approaching the peak levels of mid-January, with 11,381 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, up 27% from the week before.

As students return to classrooms across the state, the number of children in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 is at one of its highest levels since the pandemic began. In the 19- county region around Dallas and Fort Worth, there were no staffed pediatric beds available late last week, according to KUT.org.