Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

Jun 2, 2020

I wish we could say that, because of the COVID crisis, we all get a break from worrying about the potential of a catastrophic storm making landfall this year. Unfortunately, the truth is that hurricane season doesn’t give us the courtesy of waiting until the COVID-19 crisis subsides, so the time to be ready is now. 
We want you to know that even with the enormous amount of work we have been doing to contain the Coronavirus in Harris County, we have also been hard at work behind the scenes preparing for this hurricane season, which begins this week. We’ve achieved a lot of progress over the past year, moving full speed ahead on flood mitigation projects, tightening development and detention standards and working with first responder teams from across the region to prepare for and plan for the worst.
But ultimately, preparing for hurricanes is a partnership among all of us. Including you. Here are three actions we urge you to take today to prepare: 
1. Do an insurance checkup. Did you know that just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home? Standard home insurance policies don’t cover flooding, so now is the time to check in with your insurance company and make sure you are covered. Keep in mind that new flood insurance policies take 30 days to take effect, so don’t wait. 
2. Build a kit. Many of the items you need for a Hurricane Kit you already have at home, such as non-perishable food, batteries, and a radio. Make sure you have a plan to have any medications you need on hand and a plan and supplies for your pets too. Please see our disaster checklist of supplies on ReadyHarris.org.
3. Know your zone. Now is the time to find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and if you do, plan where you would go and how you would get there. If you need to evacuate, do you know where you would go? A friend or a relative’s house, for example? We have evacuation routes and zones on a map right now on ReadyHarris.org.
We all know the sort of damage and loss of human life that a big storm can bring, but it doesn’t have to catch us unaware. Please join us in taking the time to prepare for whatever may come this hurricane season

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Mayor Turner recognizes Monday, June 1, as a Day of Mourning for COVID-19 victims

Jun 2, 2020

The City of Houston observes a Day of Mourning to remember those who died of COVID-19.
Mayor schedules conference call with community and faith leaders to discuss ongoing efforts to save lives

HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner joined mayors and faith leaders from across the country to recognize Monday, June 1, 2020, as the National Day of Mourning and Lament to honor those who have died of COVID-19.
 More than 100,000 people nationwide and 131 people in Houston have lost their lives as a result of the virus during the global pandemic.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan group representing 1,400 mayors, organized Monday’s somber remembrance. Throughout the nation, cities participated with a moment of silence, by ringing bells coordinated with houses of worship or other events and memorials.
 Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a resolution and scheduled a virtual conference call with Houston faith leaders to discuss the impact of the pandemic, along with the protests taking place in memory of George Floyd.

“Coronavirus has not disappeared just because people are returning to work as businesses reopen. That is why the City of Houston is focused on robust testing and contract tracing,” Mayor Turner said. “By participating locally in the Day of Mourning for COVID-19 victims, we keep their memories alive and remind people to wear face coverings, maintain social distance, and practice good hygiene. Our goal is to save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.” 


On Monday, the Houston Health Department reported 337 new cases of COVID-19, bringing Houston’s total to 7,743. This was a two day cumulative total). The total number of deaths increased 131 people.

For information about COVID-19 or to find a mobile testing site, please go to www.HoustonEmergency.org.

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The City of Houston announces closures and media information in advance of Tuesday’s peace march honoring George Floyd.

Jun 2, 2020
HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner will join members of George Floyd’s family and community activists to march from Discovery Green to City Hall Tuesday, June 2, 2020.  
The march is not a city – sponsored  event, but is organized by Houston rappers Trae the Truth and Bun B, among others.
The march is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at 1500 McKinney St.  In preparation for the demonstration, increased traffic and road closures, all City of Houston facilities located in Downtown Houston are scheduled for early closure. Municipal Courts – scheduled for closure at noon HPD 1200 Travis – scheduled for closure at noonHPW 611 Walker – scheduled for closure at 1 p.m.Central Library/Julia B. Ideson Building – scheduled for closure at 1 p.m.City Hall – scheduled for closure at 1 p.m.City Hall Annex – scheduled for closure at 1 p.m.Houston Permitting Center – scheduled for closure at 1 p.m.MEDIA, PLEASE MAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION City Hall press riser location – lower plaza against Reflection pool wall – see map There will be a mult-box –  at the media riser  Media parking  – City Hall Annex public level – entrance at Walker Street and Bagby St (Theater District Garage #3).   There will be no parking on 400 — 500 block of McKinney St and Bagby St.  HPD will control and direct traffic in those areas.All media should carry identification/especially for parking accessAll media should wear a mask or face covering. Please encourage the crowd to wear face coverings, and as much as possible, maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene.
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Houston Health Department, agency partners announce free COVID-19 test sites for upcoming week

Jun 2, 2020
Houston Health Department, agency partners announce free COVID-19 test sites for upcoming week
The Houston Health Department and its agency partners are announcing new sites offering free COVID-19 tests during first week of June.

Texas Division of Emergency Management
The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the department will open five drive-thru test sites:Robinson Elementary, 12425 Woodforest Blvd., June 1 – 3Herrera Elementary, 525 Bennington Street, June 4 – 6Kashmere Gardens Elementary, 4901 Lockwood Dr., June 1 – 6HCC-Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Dr., June 3 – 6TDEM sites require appointments, available by calling 512-883-2400 or visiting txcovidtest.org. The sites will open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

United Memorial Medical Center
United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) will open a new drive-thru and walk-up test site at the Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star. UMMC will continue to offer drive-thru testing at its site at Houston Community College-Southeast, 6815 Rustic. 

Each site will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until reaching its daily capacity of 250 tests. The sites don’t require appointments.

Other UMMC sites opening weekdays are:UMMC Tidwell, 510 W Tidwell Rd., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell Rd, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.Cullen Middle School, 6900 Scott St., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.Griggs School, 801 Regional Park Dr., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.People needing information about UMMC test sites can call 1-866-333-COVID or visit ummcscreening.com.  

Houston Health Department Mobile Unit & Community-Based Sites
The department will set up its mobile unit at the Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol, June 2 – 6.

Mobile unit testing is set for weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until reaching daily capacity of 100 tests. People don’t need an appointment to get a free COVID-19 test through the mobile unit, which offers drive-thru or walk-up options.

The department also operates two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day.

New days of operation for the sites are Monday through Saturday. The sites will close on Sundays beginning May 31.

People can call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site or get more information about the department’s mobile unit.

Federally Qualified Health Centers 
The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to four local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:
 Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 346-348-1200 andCommunity Health Network, 281-816-3317.FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.

The department and its agency partners may shift locations and schedules of test sites to better meet community needs. Houstonians can visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for current Houston test sites and information about stopping the spread of the virus.

Information obtained through testing, treatment or services will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.
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Mayor Turner calls for calm in Houston and encourages peaceful protests

Jun 2, 2020

Mayor Turner calls for calm in the City of Houston and encourages demonstrators to protest peacefully and respectfully in memory of George Floyd

HOUSTON –  Following a march and rally in downtown Houston near city hall Friday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged protestors to stay calm and not commit acts of vandalism as they seek justice for George Floyd, a former Houston resident who was died in the custody of Minneapolis Police Officers. 

Floyd’s tragic death was caught on video and has sparked unrest throughout the country. On Friday afternoon, Minneapolis authorities arrested the former police officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes as he repeatedly said that he could not breathe.

“I extend my condolences and prayers to George Floyd’s family,” Mayor Turner said about the 55-year-old who grew up in Third Ward and graduated from Jack Yates High School. 

“The pain, anger, and frustration are evident and understandable. People have a right to march and demonstrate. As Houston’s mayor, I ask people throughout our city to protest peacefully and respectfully.” 

Mayor Turner also warned protestors not to block roads or streets or engage in other destructive activity. 

“In this city, we value human life. We value every person regardless of the neighborhood where you were born and reared. We also recognize that communities and law enforcement must work together on the same team and moving in the same direction,” Mayor Turner said. 

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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.

Bereavision/Atlanta
Nota: Samai Calderon
Foto: Rebecca Morales

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HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND PARTNERS TO OFFER MORE THAN A DOZEN FREE COVID-19 TEST SITES WEEK OF MAY 18

May 19, 2020
HOUSTON – Houstonians will continue to benefit from easier access to free COVID-19 tests as the Houston Health Department and its partner agencies offer 13 testing sites across the city the week of May 18, focusing on vulnerable communities.

Texas Division of Emergency Management

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the health department will open four drive-thru test sites at these locations:Hilliard Elementary School, 8115 East Houston Street, May 18-20Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School, 5100 Polk Street, May 18-20B.C. Elmore Elementary School, 8200 Tate Street, May 21-23John R. Harris Elementary School, 801 Broadway Street, May 21- 23TDEM sites require appointments, obtained by calling 512-883-2400 or visiting txcovidtest.org. The sites will open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until each reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests.

United Memorial Medical Center

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and the health department will extend operations at an existing site and open five new drive-thru sites May 18-22 at these locations:Fonwood Early Childhood Center, 9709 Mesa Drive, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell Road, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.United Memorial Medical Center, 510 W Tidwell Road, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.Cullen Middle School, 6900 Scott Street, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.Griggs EC/PK/K School, 801 Regional Park Drive, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.The Houston Community College-Southeast testing site, 6815 Rustic Street, which opened May 7, will continue operations through May 22 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

UMMC sites do not require people to have symptoms or appointments and have a daily capacity of 250 tests each.

People needing information about UMMC test sites can call 1-866-333-COVID or visit ummcscreening.com.

Houston Health Department Community-Based Sites

The health department continues to operate two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day and opens daily until capacity is reached.

People must call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.

Kroger Health

Kroger Health and the health department will operate a free drive-thru test site at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Drive, May 19-23.

The site requires appointments by visiting krogerhealth.com/covidtesting. The site will operate 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until reaching its daily capacity of 175 tests.

Federally Qualified Health Centers

The health department is also providing test kits, lab access and equipment to four local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027 andLone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 877-596-6192.FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.

Houstonians should visit HoustonEmergergency.org/covid19 for test site information and updates about the COVID-19 response.
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Mayor Turner’s Proposed FY 2021 Budget Includes Tough Cuts, Preserves Public Safety and Maintains City Services

May 15, 2020
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner presented his proposed FY 2021 budget closing a $169 million gap caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed budget for all funds total $5.1 billion, an increase of $62.2 million or 1.2%. The proposed General Fund budget of $2.53 billion reflects a decrease in spending by $22.17 million or 0.9 percent from the FY 2020 Current Budget of $2.55 billion.

Pre COVID-19, the City experienced a modest growth in sales tax revenue in FY 2020 and anticipated another conservative 2% growth in FY 2021. As a result of COVID-19, the City will experience a cumulative estimated loss in sales tax revenue of approximately $107 million during both FY 2020 and FY2021. This combined with decreases in other revenue sources, will have a significant adverse impact on city services.


“We are presenting a budget that does balance, even in a very uncertain time. We are obligated to balance our books. We are doing that,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It’s the toughest budget we’ve had to put together since I’ve been mayor in January of 2016.”

To make up for a $169 million budget shortfall, the city will draw down $98 million from the general fund balance and exhaust the $20 million Budget Stabilization Fund, better known as the rainy day fund, which will leave the City in a precarious position in the upcoming hurricane season.

Other measures to close the gap include:
*Furloughing 3,000 municipal employees for a maximum of 10 days saving the City $7 million. Fire, police and those who collect trash and recyclables will not be impacted.
*Deferring 5 police cadet classes saving $13.9 million
*$14.5 million in new revenue sources
*$13.7 million reduction in contingency

Unlike other municipalities, the City of Houston must operate under the property tax revenue cap while contending with the loss of revenues from COVID-19 in FY 2021 and beyond. Despite the tough financial challenges, this budget provides funding for overtime for police, three cadet classes for fire, funding for parks, libraries, trash pickup, and upgrades to drainage and streets. 

The proposed budget also fully funds the costs of the police, fire and municipal pension systems.

“The proposed budget is extra, extra lean but it balances,” said Mayor Turner. “It comes with some costs, sacrifices, and reductions in services. It is a tough budget and the work is not done.”

City Council will hold a May 27 hearing on the proposed FY 2021 budget and consider the budget for adoption on June 3. 
The new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2020
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Shooting at 6630 Harbor Town Drive

May 15, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the shooting of a man at 6630 Harbor Town Drive about 11:35 p.m. on May 6.

The suspect, Gilbert Gonzalez (H/m, 34), is charged with aggravated assault of a family member and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the 185th State District Court.  A booking photo of Gonzalez is attached to this news release.

The victim, Carlos Guevara, 33, was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.

HPD Major Assaults & Family Violence Division Officers A. Williams and B. Salazar reported:

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting at the above address and found Mr. Guevara with gunshot wounds.  Officers learned that Guevara was shot near the Southwest Freeway (South U. S. Highway 59) and Bellaire Boulevard and was dropped off by a female witness at the Harbor Town address.  

Further investigation determined Guevara and the witness were driving around when an unknown vehicle began to follow them.  While they were stopped at a red light, the suspect vehicle pulled in front of them and multiple shots were fired at the victims’ vehicle.  Guevara was struck by the gunfire but the witness was not injured.  The suspect(s) then fled the scene in an unknown direction.  

Further investigation led to the identity of Gonzalez as the shooter in this case and he was taken into custody on May 7 without incident.
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Mayor Turner’s statement on Council Member Plummer testing positive for Covid-19

May 15, 2020
HOUSTON – Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Sylvester Turner.

“Today, the City of Houston reported 229 positive COVID-19 cases. The number of people that have tested positive is a reminder that we are still facing a public health crisis. The virus does not discriminate, and people of all ages and ethnicities have been affected.
 
“I am praying for Council Member Letitia Plummer’s speedy recovery as she isolates at home.  Based on my observations, she has been careful to protect her health and the safety of those around her by practicing social distancing and wearing facial coverings.
 
“In addition to her role with the City of Houston, Council Member Plummer has kept a busy schedule at her two dental practices and distributing masks and organizing food giveaways in the community.
 
“I will continue to ask everyone, including city employees, members of the public, and elected officials to follow the CDC guidelines for this pandemic. Please wear your face coverings, practice social distancing, get tested, and stay home if you feel sick.”
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