CORRECTION-MUNICIPAL COURTS EXTENDS RESET PERIOD TO SPECIFIC SATURDAYS

Sep 25, 2020
HOUSTON MUNICIPAL COURTS EXTENDS COURT RESET PERIOD TO SPECIFIC SATURDAYS AT 1400 LUBBOCK AND ANNOUNCES THAT JURY TRIALS AND JURY DUTY WILL RESUME DECEMBER 1, 2020  
HOUSTON – The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department (MCD) is 
extending the court reset period for cases scheduled during the suspension period for all jury trials in conjunction with the Texas Supreme Court’s Order.  In an effort to comply with social distancing requirements, we will allow citizens additional time to get their cases reset.  If your case was scheduled from June 1, 2020 through November 30, 2020, resets will be given in person only at the Herbert W. Gee Courthouse located at 1400 Lubbock on the following Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m: September 26, 2020 October 3, 2020 October 10, 2020 October 17, 2020 October 24, 2020 October 31, 2020 Following Mayor Sylvester Turner’s and CDC guidelines to protect the public and MCD staff from the spread of COVID-19, members of the public will be required to wear face masks/facial coverings and have their temperature taken.  If the temperature is over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the individual will not be allowed to enter the Municipal Courthouse.  Members of the public should contact a health care provider and not come to court if they are experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19. Once cleared by a physician, individuals may come to 1400 Lubbock to speak with an Annex Judge to reset a case. Please visit the Municipal Courts’ website at www.houstontx.gov/courts for continued updates on all court locations and hours of operation.  For additional announcements and updated information, please call the City of Houston Helpline at 3-1-1, or 713.837.0311 if outside of the City of Houston, or visit the Municipal Courts website at www.houstontx.gov/courts. ###EL DEPARTAMENTO DE LAS CORTES MUNICIPALES DE LA CIUDAD DE HOUSTON EXTIENDE EL PERÍODO DE RESTABLECIMIENTO DE CORTE A SÁBADOS ESPECIFICOS AL 1400 LUBBOCK, Y  ANUNCIA QUE LOS JUICIOS POR JURADO Y SERVICIO DE JURADO REANUDARÁN EL 1 DE DICIEMBRE, 2020 HOUSTON, Texas – El Departamento de las Cortes Municipales de la Ciudad de Houston (MCD) está extendiendo el período de restablecimiento de corte para los casos programados durante el período de suspensión de juicios por jurado conforme a la orden de la Corte Suprema de Texas. En un esfuerzo por cumplir con los requisitos de distanciamiento social, les daremos a los ciudadanos tiempo adicional para restablecer sus casos. Si su caso fue programado desde el 1 de junio del 2020 hasta el 30 de noviembre del 2020, restablecimientos se darán en persona sólo en la corte central Herbert W. Gee ubicada en 1400 Lubbock los siguientes sábados de 8:00 a.m. a 4:00 p.m: 26 de septiembre, 2020 3 de octubre, 2020  10 de octubre, 2020 17 de octubre, 2020 24 de octubre, 2020 31 de octubre, 2020 Siguiendo las directrices del alcalde Sylvester Turner y del CDC para proteger al público y al personal de MCD de la propagación de COVID-19, los miembros del público tendrán que usar cubiertas faciales y se les tomará la temperatura. Si la temperatura es más de 100.4 grados Fahrenheit, el individuo no podrá entrar en los edificios de las Cortes. Los miembros del público deben comunicarse con un proveedor de atención médica y no venir a las Cortes si están sintiendo síntomas similares al COVID-19. Una vez aprobado por un médico, las personas pueden venir al 1400 Lubbock para hablar con un Juez Anexo para reprogramar su(s) caso(s). Por favor visite al sitio web de la Corte Municipal al www.houstontx.gov/courts para actualizaciones continuas de todas las ubicaciones y horas de operación de la Corte. Para anuncios adicionales e información actualizada, por favor llame a la Línea de Ayuda de La Ciudad de Houston al 3-1-1, o al 713.837.0311 si esta fuera de la Ciudad de Houston, o visite al sitio web de la Corte al www.houstontx.gov/courts
Read More

Suspect Charged, Wanted in Fatal Shooting at 5500 De Soto Street

Sep 25, 2020
**Resending with photo of wanted suspect**

Charges have been filed against a suspect wanted in the death of a woman that occurred at 5500 De Soto Street about 7:10 a.m. Saturday (September 19). 

The suspect, Alexis Armando Rojas-Mendez (H/m, 23), is charged with murder in the 183rd State District Court.  A previous photo of Rojas-Mendez, who is not in custody, is attached to this news release.

He is accused in the death Ashley M. Garcia, 27, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant S. Murdock and Detective R. Rivera reported:

Officers responded to a report of a deceased female at an apartment at the above address.  Upon arrival they found Ms. Garcia had suffered severe trauma to her head and body and determined she had been severely beaten. 

Further investigation identified Rojas-Mendez, Garcia’s boyfriend, as a suspect in this case.  He was subsequently charged and remains at large.  

Anyone with information in this case or on the whereabouts of Rojas-Mendez is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Read More

Mayor Turner announces citywide anti-littering campaign

Sep 17, 2020
Mayor Turner Announces Citywide Anti-Litter Campaign, Encourages Houstonians to Properly Dispose of COVID-19 Face Masks, Gloves and Sanitizer Wipes 
News conference video includes a COVID-19 pandemic update and the anti-litter campaign announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner joined several city council members and community and neighborhood groups to announce an anti-litter campaign to encourage Houstonians to properly dispose of face masks, gloves, sanitizer wipes, and other trash. 

“Don’t Let Houston Go to Waste” and “Litter is Trashy” are two of the slogans that will remind people to keep Houston clean by throwing all used items in trash cans and dumpsters. The signs also encourage everyone to do the ‘PPE123.”Wear PPE and social distanceDispose of your PPE appropriately STOP THE SPREAD”The use of proper personal protective equipment, like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, is critically important in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Turner said. “But we have a PPE litter problem. Houston is not alone. Cities across the nation are experiencing unbelievable amounts of PPE litter on streets and sidewalks.” 

The mayor named Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex Tatum to lead the citywide anti-litter campaign.

“We have to sound the alarm and encourage Houstonians to join us. We have all noticed the significant increase in litter around our city,” said Castex-Tatum. “We must address the uptick in illegal dumping in our parks and streets because COVID waste is being washed into our storm drains and waterways.”

“Litter is 100 percent preventable,” said Amy Reed, executive director of Keep Houston Beautiful.”It might seem like only one glove that hit the ground or one mask that flew away. Don’t trash our city. This is our home, and we want to keep it the cleanest and greenest.”

The anti-litter campaign also targets illegal dumping, which has increased during the pandemic. 

“These things can clog the drains and clog inlets,” said Public Works Director Carol Haddock. “They can contribute to flooding when we have the next rainstorm.”

“My community spends thousands of dollars every year cleaning up illegal dumping and litter,” said Super Neighborhood Alliance Vice-Chair, Philip Salerno. “I look forward to working with the mayor and city council on this initiative, so let’s keep Houston clean and remember, litter is trashy.”The following organizations and agencies will join Mayor Turner and Vice-Mayor Castex Tatum in supporting the anti-litter campaign. Solid Waste Management DepartmentHouston Parks & Recreation DepartmentKeep Houston BeautifulHouston Public Works DepartmentDepartment of NeighborhoodsHouston Airport SystemHouston Police DepartmentHouston First CorporationHouston Apartment AssociationGreater Houston PartnershipTIRZs and Management DistrictsMETRORetailers Associations (Texas and Greater Houston)
Read More

Surveillance Photo of Suspect Sought in June Fatal Shooting at 8700 Richmond Avenue

Sep 17, 2020
The family of a man fatally shot at 8700 Richmond Avenue about 10:45 p.m. on June 24 is making a public plea in efforts to identify the person(s) responsible for his death.  

At a news conference at the HPD Edward A. Thomas Building today (Sept. 16), family members of victim Deaundra Charles Pipkins, 23, asked anyone with information on the killing of their loved one to provide an anonymous tip to help HPD homicide detectives identity the suspect(s). 

The suspect is described only as a heavy-set black male with dreadlocks.   A surveillance photo of the suspect, seen getting into a white Mercedes Benz sedan with dark-tinted windows, was released on June 30.  The photo is attached to this news release.  

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant M. Miller and Detectives M. Arrington, M. Perez and D. Stark reported:  

Mr.  Pipkins was shot at least one time while he sat in the passenger side of a vehicle traveling eastbound at the above address.  The driver transported him to HCA Houston Healthcare West where he was pronounced deceased.  

The suspect was last seen in the Mercedes sedan driving eastbound on Richmond Avenue and then turned southbound onto Dunvale Road to flee the scene.  

Anyone with information in this case, or on the identity of the wanted suspect, is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Read More

Mayor Turner new office to target human trafficking and domestic violence

Sep 17, 2020
Mayor Sylvester Turner Creates New Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence
Program launched to empower survivors with paths toward safety and financial independence
HOUSTON – Effective immediately, the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking will expand to include Domestic Violence and focus on services and policies to address gender-based violence. The new Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence (MOHT&DV) will be led by Minal Patel Davis.

Mayor Sylvester Turner made the announcement Monday along with District C City Council Member Abbie Kamin, Minal Patel Davis, director of the newly expanded office and Emily Whitehurst of the Houston Area Women’s Center. 

The new office is launching a partnership with Magpies & Peacocks called the MAKR Collective to empower human trafficking and domestic violence victims economically. MAKR Collective is an independent entrepreneurship program that works in collaboration with M&P to help survivors gain valuable, life-long skills for employment opportunities in the fashion industry. 



Starting in October, the MAKR Collective will be set up to transition six clients per month into the virtual 3-6-month pilot program. This unique opportunity seeks to use remote visual learning techniques to teach participants how to sew, cut patterns, learn basic alterations, and develop skills to make their first for sale product. Upon completion, participants will be paid for their work, possess a portfolio of skills, and can offer paid services to others. Participants also can become a product designer. No prior experience is required, and information sessions and application will be available in Spanish. The program also includes a range of financial supports like a stipend during the upskills period and a cash match savings program that can yield $500 in savings in 6 months.

“Economic empowerment opportunities like this one are the key to breaking the cycle of domestic violence, “said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Almost all survivors experience financial abuse, lack access to financial resources, or the skills needed to be independent, keeping them tied to an abuser. ” 

“COVID exacerbated the problem, but Houston continues to rise to the challenge. We continue to ask, ‘what more can we do to ensure all Houstonians are safe,’” said Council Member Abbie Kamin. “Today’s announcement and the expansion of an official City office to include domestic violence in its charge is a very big deal. It ensures that the work to protect survivors and their families will continue for years to come.”

“Our goal is to ensure that survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence have multiple pathways to economic stability,” said Minal Patel Davis, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence. “Magpies and Peacocks is the perfect partner since their model will upskill survivors locally while disrupting fashion production and the labor trafficking that results from that globally.



The MOHT&DV will also pursue additional avenues for economic security, dialogues on gender equity through community and civic engagement, focus on service deserts, and changing cultural attitudes.

The Houston Endowment, Frees Foundation, Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation, National Football League, and the Kanta K. Patel Fund are sponsors. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs helped identify M&P as a partner.

Mayor Turner’s Anti-Trafficking Division was the first municipal-level office of its kind in the U.S. for making a local impact on human trafficking from a policy-level perspective. The new office will now also develop domestic violence initiatives.

Magpies & Peacocks is Houston’s and the nation’s exclusive 501(c)3 non-profit design house dedicated to the collection and sustainable reuse of post-consumer clothing, scrap textiles, and accessories diverted from landfill.

For more information, contact Minal Patel Davis, Director, MOHT&DV at (832) 596-9965.
Read More

Mayor Turner announces City initiative to improve Houston’s local streets and major thoroughfares

Sep 17, 2020
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Public Works (HPW) announced the Street Rehabilitation Initiative, a program designed to improve streets, curbs and gutters citywide.

Street Rehabilitation provides many of the same benefits of reconstruction, but at a much lower cost. Public Works will rehabilitate nearly 300 lane-miles of roadway across the City this year, which is double what crews accomplished last year and almost four times the amount three years ago.
 
In January, Mayor Turner identified rehabilitating Houston streets as one of his priorities and asked Public Works to develop a plan within 60 days. The mayor wanted a plan that would go beyond the next-day pothole program and move from just repairing to improving the City’s streets.

Public Works submitted the proposal just as the City’s attention shifted to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will focus on extending the life of existing infrastructure by rehabilitating street surfaces, fixing curbs, storm drains, sidewalks, and bringing ramps up to accessibility standards.

“The Street Rehabilitation Initiative is my vision for creating safer, more sustainable communities for Houstonians,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I asked Public Works to change the way the City of Houston is doing business by taking a more holistic approach to how we use our streets as part of a Complete Community.”

Mayor Turner launched the street repair program in District D, along with Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, as Houston Public Works crews worked nearby to make infrastructure improvements in the 7700 block of Jutland. Improvements in the Sunnyside Complete Community include more than two miles of rehabilitation to streets, curbs, gutters, and curb ramps.
 
Citywide, Public Works is using data that measures the condition and rideability of the streets to prioritize rehabilitation projects in all 11 Districts. The amount of work done in each council district will be determined by the percent of streets in that district.
The City is currently doing Street Rehabilitation Initiative work at the following Complete Community locations:

 
“Rehabilitation is a fiscally responsible way to manage our streets,” said Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock. “When we put most or all our money into reconstruction, we only work on 15 to 20 lane miles of roadway per year. When we use this same money to rehabilitate those roads that need some attention but aren’t completely broken up, we can improve more than 300 lane miles per year.”

The Street Rehabilitation Initiative also increases transparency and accountability by allocating rehabilitation projects based on the proportion of streets in each district, prioritizing projects based on objective criteria with council member participation and sharing the schedule for the rehabilitation of every street.

Mayor Turner has asked Public Works to provide a detailed briefing of the new initiative at the Transportation, Technology, and Infrastructure Committee Meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 17th at 10 a.m. The committee meeting can be streamed on Houston Television and its social media platforms.
Read More

Mayor Sylvester Turner Creates New Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

Sep 15, 2020

Program launched to empower survivors with paths toward safety and financial independence
HOUSTON – Effective immediately, the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking will expand to include Domestic Violence and focus on services and policies to address gender-based violence. The new Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence (MOHT&DV) will be led by Minal Patel Davis.

Mayor Sylvester Turner made the announcement Monday along with District C City Council Member Abbie Kamin, Minal Patel Davis, director of the newly expanded office and Emily Whitehurst of the Houston Area Women’s Center. 

The new office is launching a partnership with Magpies & Peacocks called the MAKR Collective to empower human trafficking and domestic violence victims economically. MAKR Collective is an independent entrepreneurship program that works in collaboration with M&P to help survivors gain valuable, life-long skills for employment opportunities in the fashion industry. 



Starting in October, the MAKR Collective will be set up to transition six clients per month into the virtual 3-6-month pilot program. This unique opportunity seeks to use remote visual learning techniques to teach participants how to sew, cut patterns, learn basic alterations, and develop skills to make their first for sale product. Upon completion, participants will be paid for their work, possess a portfolio of skills, and can offer paid services to others. Participants also can become a product designer. No prior experience is required, and information sessions and application will be available in Spanish. The program also includes a range of financial supports like a stipend during the upskills period and a cash match savings program that can yield $500 in savings in 6 months.

“Economic empowerment opportunities like this one are the key to breaking the cycle of domestic violence, “said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Almost all survivors experience financial abuse, lack access to financial resources, or the skills needed to be independent, keeping them tied to an abuser. ” 

“COVID exacerbated the problem, but Houston continues to rise to the challenge. We continue to ask, ‘what more can we do to ensure all Houstonians are safe,’” said Council Member Abbie Kamin. “Today’s announcement and the expansion of an official City office to include domestic violence in its charge is a very big deal. It ensures that the work to protect survivors and their families will continue for years to come.”

“Our goal is to ensure that survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence have multiple pathways to economic stability,” said Minal Patel Davis, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence. “Magpies and Peacocks is the perfect partner since their model will upskill survivors locally while disrupting fashion production and the labor trafficking that results from that globally.



The MOHT&DV will also pursue additional avenues for economic security, dialogues on gender equity through community and civic engagement, focus on service deserts, and changing cultural attitudes.

The Houston Endowment, Frees Foundation, Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation, National Football League, and the Kanta K. Patel Fund are sponsors. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs helped identify M&P as a partner.

Mayor Turner’s Anti-Trafficking Division was the first municipal-level office of its kind in the U.S. for making a local impact on human trafficking from a policy-level perspective. The new office will now also develop domestic violence initiatives.

Magpies & Peacocks is Houston’s and the nation’s exclusive 501(c)3 non-profit design house dedicated to the collection and sustainable reuse of post-consumer clothing, scrap textiles, and accessories diverted from landfill.

For more information, contact Minal Patel Davis, Director, MOHT&DV at (832) 596-9965.
Read More

PREVENTING OPIOID OVERDOSE DEATHS DURING A PANDEMIC

Sep 1, 2020
HOUSTON – Houstonians are facing the collision of two health emergencies: the COVID-19 pandemic and worsening opioid addiction. Houston first responders report a 17% increase in overdoses in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same time period last year. As we recognize September as National Recovery Month, the Houston Health Department and its partners continue to be on the forefront battling both health emergencies.

“Even as COVID-19 is the health crisis at the top of our minds, we must remember the opioid crisis is not under control,” said Dr. David Persse, Local Health Authority for the Houston Health Department. “We must focus on making it easier for people to get the help they need and get it as quickly as possible.”

The FRONTLINES (First Responder Opioid Overdose Naloxone Training and Linkage into Needed Evidence-based treatment Services) grant program puts the life-saving drug naloxone in the hands of first responders, those who can administer it quickly and effectively. The drug restores normal respiration in people actively suffering from a heroin or prescription opioid overdose.

Through the program, the Houston Fire Department was trained on how and when to use Narcan, the nasal spray form of naloxone. In 2019, Narcan was used more than 1,300 times by Houston first responders. So far in 2020, it’s been used more than 1,000 times.  

“Now, more than ever, the entire Houston community needs to be aware that opioid misuse is a growing problem that could touch the lives of anyone including their own,” said Dr. Persse, who is also the principal investigator of the FRONTLINES project. “Since people with opioid use disorder are disproportionately affected by the ongoing health and societal consequences associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we all need to be ready to react quickly to save lives.”

Rising unemployment and worsening mental health symptoms cause higher stress levels which may increase the abuse of substance like alcohol and illicit opioids, increasing the risk for opioid-related overdose. 

Even people currently working on their sobriety can be affected by the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The anxiety, pain, isolation, financial worries, changes at home and work, and a constant feeling of uncertainty are powerful relapse triggers for people in recovery. The local treatment community reports seeing increasing rates of relapse in recent months.

These factors are why the Houston Health Department and its partners are increasing overdose prevention services during the pandemic including quick access to naloxone, overdose prevention education, and post-overdose recovery through Houston Recover Center programs.

In addition to the Houston Recovery Center, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas at San Antonio are partners on the FRONTLINES grant.

For more information or to schedule an opioid overdose training for a community group or organization contact Dr. Alicia Kowalchuk at aliciak@bcm.edu. More information and linkage to substance abuse disorder treatment services are available by contacting the Houston Recovery Center Clinical Office at 713-238-7803.

Naloxone is available by standing order across all pharmacies in the state of Texas, no separate prescription needed.  Ask for it at your local pharmacy.  You can legally possess and administer naloxone in Texas if you are personally at risk of opioid overdose or know someone who is.
Read More

Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Crash at 7400 North Shepherd Drive

Aug 28, 2020
Suspect Arrested, Charged in Fatal Crash at 7400 North Shepherd Drive
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in a fatal crash at 7400 North Shepherd Drive about 10:55 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 24).

The suspect, Rigoberto Fernandez (H/m, 41), is charged with intoxication manslaughter in the 351st State District Court.  A booking photo of Fernandez is attached to this news release.

The identity of the male victim, 55, is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

HPD Vehicular Crimes Division Sergeant D. Rose and Officer A. Chheav reported:

Fernandez was driving a white Chevrolet Tahoe at a high rate of speed northbound at the above address when he struck a curb near West Little York Road and lost control of his vehicle.  The truck then spun and struck a male sitting on a bucket in a protected median near the crosswalk. 

Paramedics were called and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene.  Fernandez was determined to be intoxicated and was subsequently charged.
Read More