Governor Murphy Directs U.S. and New Jersey Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick

Jan 9, 2021


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Monday, January 11, 2021, in honor of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a former resident of South River, who died following injuries sustained while defending the Capitol during the violent insurrection on January 6th. 

In a statement, Governor Murphy said: 

“United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick embodied the selfless spirit of his native state. Officer Sicknick was a product of South River and a graduate of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools. 

“Before joining the Capitol Police, he was Staff Sergeant Sicknick with the New Jersey Air National Guard. He was a Fire Team Member and Leader with the 108th Security Force Squadron, 108th Wing, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and his six years of service included overseas deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom. 

“Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends, as well as to his United States Capitol Police colleagues and the Guardsmen and Guardswomen he served alongside. We thank him for his service to our nation. 

“Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection. His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.” 

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Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reforms Releases Recommendations

Oct 1, 2020

 Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reform Releases Recommendations
HOUSTON – The Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reform today released a highly anticipated 153-page report with a list of recommendations proposed by the 45 member citizen group.Led by Chairman Larry Payne, the task force spent months listening to Houstonians and organizations about the type and kind of police department they desire and demand. The task force engaged in extensive research on issues and best practices around the country and received more than 7,000 responses from a community survey. 

“In the events of recent months, it is clear in Houston and across the nation that our community, mayor, city council, police chief, officers, and the union must all work together to protect and serve the constitutional rights of all citizens,” Chairman Payne wrote in the report’s introduction. The recommendations are divided into six categories: Community Policing, Independent Oversight, Power dynamics, Crisis Intervention, Field Readiness, and Clear Expectations.”We have worked hard on this being a document that is not going to sit on a shelf. It has actionable items that can be implemented,” Payne said. “We are also going to stay committed to the mayor. As a task force, we are not going away.”The 104 recommendations are available online. (Click the image below.)Mayor Turner said he plans to take time to thoroughly review the report before making decisions about implementing any or all of the task force’s recommendations.

“I know people in our community recognize the importance of our police officers, want good policing, accountability, and transparency within the Houston Police Department,” said Mayor Turner. “This is a transformational moment for our city as we seek to improve how policing is done in our community in a time when people are calling for reform and demanding we address racial and social injustices.
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Mayor Turner Signs Executive Order Authorizing HPD Use of Cite and Release Program

Oct 1, 2020
Mayor Sylvester Turner Authorizes Cite and Release ProgramProgram allows officers to issue tickets for low-level offenses instead of making arrests
HOUSTON –  Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 29, Houston Police officers will be able to issue citations instead of arresting individuals for certain Class A and Class B misdemeanors. Mayor Sylvester Turner signed Executive Order No. 1-68 Monday afternoon, authorizing the City of Houston to join Harris County’s Cite and Release Program.The Cite and Release policy is expected to help reduce the jail population for non-violent offenders, reduce the amount of time police officers spend on jail processing procedures, and improve response times by getting officers back into service more quickly.
The following Class A and B misdemeanors are eligible for tickets instead of jail time: Possession of a controlled substance, if the controlled substance is four ounces or lessCriminal Mischief, if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750Graffiti, if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $2500Theft, if the value of the property stolen is $100 or more but less than $750Theft of Service, if the value of the service stolen is $100 or more but less than $750Contraband in a Correctional Facility, if the offense is a Class B misdemeanorDriving with an invalid license”Cite and Release is a more humane way to handle low-level offenders because the program allows them to face responsibility for their actions without the stain of an arrest or serving jail time,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It is the equivalent of being given a second chance on the spot, as long as the suspected offender meets the requirements for Cite and Release and complies with the rules.”The Houston Police Department’s Class C Policy is currently being revised in consideration of the new Cite and Release policy.”This is not a matter of getting soft on crime. It’s about getting smart on crime,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. “The Cite and Release program is a long time coming and long overdue. It is something we are very proud to implement.”Mayor Turner acknowledged Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin, Chair of the Council Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, who could not attend Monday’s news conference because of the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur. The mayor also thanked the five City Council Members who sent him a list of recommendations on policing reforms, including Cite and Release.”This is a great day in the City of Houston. On behalf of my city council colleagues, activists, and organizations that have worked on policing reforms, we are moving in the right direction. We all agree that Cite and Release is a policy that we can live with and something Houstonians deserve. This is a great step forward for policing reforms and the City,” said Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex Tatum. 

Judson Robinson, CEO and President of the Houston Area Urban League also spoke in favor of Cite and Release.Mayor Turner also said the objective of implementing Cite and Release is to achieve a measurable change in how Houston Police offers are handling low-level offenses. Therefore, the Executive Order also clarifies that the Houston Police Department will track and report the data on citations issued under this program.
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Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy Celebrates One Year Anniversary with a Book Distribution

Oct 1, 2020

HOUSTON – In recognition of National Literacy Month, the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL) celebrated one year by hosting a “Drive-Up 4 Literacy” book distribution. Mayor Turner joined Houston Public Library (HPL) Director, Dr. Rhea Lawson, CITGO Petroleum Corporation’s Thomas Coleman, MOAL Director, Federico Salas-Isnardi, and HPL employees to distribute 35,000 books. The Molina Foundation donated a Book Buddies grant to make the distribution possible.

 Literacy providers from Community Family Centers, Eastside University, the Chinese Community Center, and The Alliance received books for their learners. MOAL held the distribution in partnership with The Molina Foundation as part of its Families Learning Together campaign. The campaign is a national initiative to encourage literacy and reading skills during the summer and back-to-school season during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I want to congratulate the MOAL on its anniversary of advocating for equitable and fair access to literacy skills,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This pandemic demonstrates that we need literate adults and families to tackle a health crisis affecting our communities. A City’s health and economic strength are determined by the resilience of its families and neighborhoods.” 

 Access to these books will help create word-rich communities in Houston that are healthy and complete. The event also served as a wonderful example of collaboration and support. The Houston Public Library, Houston Public Library Foundation, The Houston Food Bank, and CITGO Petroleum Corporation also partnered with MOAL in this endeavor. 

As the nation’s only mayoral office for literacy advocacy, MOAL serves as an example of economic impact through service. The National Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) recognized this innovative approach and its influence over the last year. In recognition of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (AEFL Week), the organization awarded Mayor Turner with the 2020 Adult Education Leadership Award.
The demand has been great as more than 10,740 books have already been reserved across 21 providers around Houston! HPL (or MOAL) will distribute books on a first-come, first-served basis until the donation is exhausted. Literacy providers interested in receiving books should contact MOAL at 832-393-0308.

About Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL)
On September 17, 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner officially launched the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL.) MOAL focuses on enhancing adult literacy advocacy and promoting awareness about the impact of illiteracy on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. With one in three Houstonians unable to read, MOAL also promotes awareness, advocates, and helps build capacity for Adult Literacy and Adult Education causes and providers in the City of Houston.  The launch of the office was made possible by a generous grant from the CITGO Petroleum Corporation. For more information about the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy, visit You can also connect with the MOAL team via Facebook.
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Pruebas de COVID-19 sin cita previa

Aug 9, 2020

Los Angeles, CA.- La ciudad de Los Angeles esta realizando pruebas de COVID-19 gratuitos y sin necesidad de hacer una cita. La oficina del alcalde de Los Angeles Eric Garcetti y el concejal Gil Cedillo pusieron en marcha un centro de examen COVID-19 y una mesa de información para el Censo 2020 en el parque Cypress Park Recreation Center 2630 Pepper Avenue, Los Ángeles, CA 90065.

El día sábado 8 de agosto se dio inicio a lo que se denomino como puestos de “Pop-Up COVID-19”, este pequeño centro de pruebas contó con más de 500 paquetes con los utensilios necesarios para hacer el examen del coronavirus; la actividad comenzó de 9am hasta las 4pm.

Adultos, jóvenes, ancianos y niños acudieron al centro de exámenes COVID-19 en Cypress Park. El único requisito que se pide para hacer el examen de coronavirus en estos centros, es traer una identificación con foto y puede ser la matricula consular si no tiene documentación del gobierno.

La alcaldía de Los Angeles se compromete con Usted, en devolverles el resultado de la prueba en un periodo de 48 horas. Al Usted ir a este centro de pruebas también hay algunas reglas sanitarias que debe seguir; como el aislarse en su casa y quedar a seis pies de distancia de las personas que lo rodean en casa hasta que reciba los resultados entre otras que le explicaran a la hora de asistir a la prueba.

El próximo centro de pruebas gratuito y sin cita previa estará abierto el Lunes 10 y Jueves 14 de agosto en la ubicación del supermercado “Food 4 Less” de la ciudad de Westlake 1700 W. 6Th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

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Incendio de “Apple Fire” avanza hacia las montañas de San Bernardino

Aug 3, 2020

Los Angeles, CA.- Por aire y por tierra se realiza la labor de contención del incendio Apple en el Condado de Riverside; que ahora se extiende hacia las montañas de San Bernardino.

Este es el primer incendio forestal del año qua ha consumido más de 26,850 acres de bosque en el sur de California. Desde el sábado y domingo se realizaron las evacuaciones de aproximadamente 2500 casas en varias localidades cercanas al incendio.

Al momento las ordenes de evacuación fueron puestas desde Wilson St, Sunset Ave y Hathaway St., North Dutton Street y al Este de Oak Glen Road. Al norte con la Avenida Cherry Valley Blvd al Este de la Avenida Beaumont, llegando hasta el área de Potato Canyon en el condado de San Bernardino.

Los bomberos del condado de Riverside han luchado por contener las enormes llamas que no se ha podido controlar con éxito hasta el momento; la cifra oficial de contención hasta hoy lunes 3 de agosto es del 7 por ciento.

Fotos de Leo Fontes y Cal Fire

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Houston Fire Department Investigators Make Arson Arrest connected to a fire at the Heights of 2121 Apartments

Jun 19, 2020

On Friday, June 12, 2020, Houston Arson Bureau Investigators responded to a fire incident and learned that suspect, 21-yr. old, Keaton Drenner was detained by HPD.  Drenner confessed to accidentally starting the fire. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office (HCDAO) accepted Reckless Arson charges. HFD Arson Investigators Nathaniel Gee and Norman Hicks are credited with the arrest.
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Mayor Turner calls the SCOTUS DACA ruling “A Victory” for DREAMers and the City of Houston.

Jun 19, 2020
Mayor Turner calls the SCOTUS DACA ruling “A Victory” for DREAMers and the City of Houston.
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner applauds the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Turner.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling that the Trump administration may not terminate DACA is a victory for DACA recipients and all Americans. Over 32,000 Houston DACA recipients and their families have built lives, pursued their education, and contribute to our city, including $1.1 billion to Houston’s economy each year. They represent Houston’s present and our future.

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling, but Congress needs to work on a permanent solution to provide a path to citizenship for the 700,000 DREAMers who live in the United States.

“I will continue to stand not only for our DREAMers, but for all immigrants, regardless of their documentation status. We are proud to represent the future of America and proud that immigrants come here with dreams powered by hard work and resilience. Houston is the nation’s most diverse and welcoming city, and we are fortunate that DACA recipients have chosen to live here.

“Whether they are a business owner, a teacher, a nurse, or pursuing other opportunities, they make this city the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

For legal information about DACA, please contact the Houston Immigrants’ Rights Hotline at 1-833-468-4664.
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The Houston Fire Department Protects George Floyd Service Attendees from Record Heat

Jun 8, 2020
The Houston Fire Department Protects 
George Floyd Service Attendees from Record Heat

Over the past few days the Houston Fire Department’s Special Events Team, under the office of the HFD Homeland Security and Planning Division, have been involved in planning meetings in anticipation of today’s high heat index and large crowds for the Funeral Remembrance of George Floyd.

The Houston Fire Department has staffed medical professionals within the service footprint along with a medical triage tent and a cooling station. The HFD has also coordinated with the American Red Cross to provide hydrating stations for all participants. Along with the 102 emergency transport units staffed every day in the City, the HFD has added six additional transport units and four rapid medical response units staged at nearby location of the funeral service and other coordinated events. The HFD “Ambus”, a multiple patient transport vehicle/bus, is also available at the location if needed. 

Currently, the cooling tent, hydration station and medical staff have managed to reduce patient transports from the George Floyd Funeral Services down to two patients, despite the City’s high-heat index and crowds estimated in the 10-15 thousand.  

If you are considering in participating in any of the upcoming George Floyd Remembrance Services, please follow the summer safety tips below. 

•    Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-replacement beverages.  
•    Avoid beverages or food sources with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
•    Wear wide-brimmed, loose-fitting hat that allows ventilation to help prevent sunburn and heat-related emergencies.  
•    Wear sunscreen to reduce the risk of sunburn.

For more summer safety tips visit

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Tercer día de protestas en la ciudad de Atlanta, GA

Jun 1, 2020

Atlanta, GA.
Domingo 31 de Mayo

Este domingo ha sido el tercer día de protestas en Atlanta, la personas quisieron reunirse en el Parque Olímpico pero los soldados les impidieron la entrada.

Alrededor de las 5p.m. los manifestantes comenzaron a llegar cerca del centro de CNN. En la calle Marietta se encontraban policías con escudos listos para formar una barricada, separando a los manifestantes del ya dañado centro CNN.

Los manifestantes comenzaron a gritar “sin justicia, sin paz” a medida que más manifestantes llegaron para unirse a una marcha por las calles que rodean el parque Olímpico.

Había dos grupos separados, uno se quedó frente a las filas de oficiales y otros protestaban por las calles del centro de Atlanta.

Había una división entre aquellos que querían permanecer en paz frente a los oficiales y los que iban alrededor de las calles quienes querían que los primeros se unieran a ellos para tener más fuerza.

Un grupo de manifestantes caminó desde el Parque Olímpico hasta el edificio del Capitolio del Estado, donde se encontraron con más soldados y oficiales de pie alrededor del Capitolio.

Hubo mucha ida y vuelta durante la marchas de un lugar a otro y de personas acercándose a la barrera de oficiales y soldados.

Alrededor de las 8:30 pm, los manifestantes que se habían formado alrededor del lado opuesto en la cuadra donde estaba la policía marcharon hacia el centro de CNN y allí comenzó la liberación de ira cuando la gente comenzó a gritar y lanzar botellas de agua a la policía quien a manera de respuesta arrojaron gases lacrimógenos a la multitud para dispersarse muchas personas decidieron abandonar el lugar después de esto pero otras se quedaron para seguir protestando a pesar del toque de queda establecido a las nueve de la noche por el alcalde Keisha Bottoms el día sábado.

Nota: Samai Calderon
Foto: Rebecca Morales

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