Mayor Turner announces new initiative to combat crime in Houston

Oct 20, 2020
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a COVID-19 Related Crime Reduction Program to increase overtime for the Houston Police Department through the end of December 2020. The City will use $4.1 million of CARES Act funding for the overtime program.

Beginning today, through the end of the year, there will be an additional 110 officers  deployed each day to saturate six hot spot areas that are driving the violent crime numbers.

Those areas are:WestsideSouth GessnerNorth BeltSoutheastSouth CentralMidwestThroughout those areas, HPD officers will be on proactive patrols to reduce crime and address the spike in homicides, shootings and other crimes the city has experienced during the pandemic.
Overall, violent crime is up 11% in Houston.

“Major cities across the nation are experiencing an increase in homicides, shootings and other crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “There is no denying the virus has contributed to anxiety and stress as people cope with job losses, feelings of isolation, illness or death of loved ones, children learning at home virtually and fear of the unknown.”

An Oct. 6 news article in the New York Times, reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has frayed all kinds of institutions and infrastructure that hold communities together, that watch over streets, that mediate conflicts, that simply give young people something to do. Programs devised to reduce gun violence and that proved effective have been upended by the pandemic.

“We’ll be relying on data to add more officers, more eyes, more visibility, and most importantly, more safety for the people of Houston,” said Chief Art Acevedo, Houston Police Department. “We are going to be watching on a daily basis and we will have tactical intelligence and move our resources as needed because we know displacement can occur.”
The City of Houston has worked in these unprecedented times to help people holistically. For instance, the Houston Health Department launched a mental  health hotline, the Mayor’s Office of Anti-Trafficking was expanded to include  domestic violence, to address the increase in domestic violence calls. The program includes a partnership with MAKR  Collective, an economic empowerment program for survivors with wrap around financial services. Through skills training we help survivors achieve financial independence.
The City has also provided two rental assistance packages worth more than $35 million for Houstonians having trouble paying their rent as a result of hardships created by the pandemic. In August, the Houston City Council passed the City’s Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP), which will be funded with $15 million of the City’s allocated CARES Act 2020 funds.
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Oct 20, 2020
Photo by Carlos Baeza – Thompson Boxing Promotions
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 19, 2020) – Thompson Boxing’s former unified WBA and IBF super-bantamweight world champion, Danny “The Baby Face Assassin” Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs), is back in the gym and making it clear who he wants next, and that’s WBC super-bantamweight champion Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs).  “My last fight against (Juan Carlos) Payano was a WBC final eliminator and I am back in the gym with the goal of getting the green belt against Nery,” said Roman, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions. “Since I started boxing, I have always wanted to win it and I’d like to make that a reality. I am more focused than ever as I wait for the opportunity to fight for WBC super-bantamweight title. I want to be a champion again and I will prepare harder than ever.” “Daniel Roman can’t be written off at all, he has proven he is still at the top of his game,” said Alex Camponovo, general manager for Thompson Boxing. “Danny is making it clear that he wants the WBC strap and when he sets his mind on something, he finds a way to get it.”
“Daniel Roman is a consummate professional,” said Eddie Gonzalez, Roman’s manager and trainer. “He was right back in the gym after his win over Juan Carlos Payano and is more focused than ever. He wants Nery because he wants to win the green belt and I think that would be a great action-packed fight for the fans.” “My desire to be a world champion once again is what’s fueling my hard work in the gym,” Roman concluded. “I know what I am capable of and I fought on the same night as Nery so we should both be ready at the same time. It makes sense and will be great fight for the fans.”
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WBC Cares and Feet First Foundation Unite Helping Students with Boxing Curriculum

Oct 20, 2020


NEW YORK, NY (October 19, 2020) – The Feet First Foundation is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with the “WBC Cares” organization, a community outreach program formed by the World Boxing Council in 2006. The two parties have teamed up to highlight the transformative power of boxing, and how textbook boxing training can help improve the lives of many students in schools across the world.
By partnering with the WBC Cares, the Feet First Foundation, who already has had over 10,000 students go through their program, now aims to extend its curriculum nationally as a supportive outlet for schools around the world. The Feet First Foundation has found success implementing a data-backed program that uses boxing exercise and group discussion to inspire strong character in these school children.
Founded in the state of California in 2017, the Feet First Foundation under the guidance of co-founders Dan DorsettSean SharkeyZach Micheletti and Brandon Kregel, has improved the lives of thousands of students and adults. Along with promoting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates disciplined boxing exercise, the Feet First program also encourages group discussion topics around perseverance, accountability, and respect.
“It feels good to be working with a common goal of helping others through the art of boxing, and we are proud to team up with a first-class organization like the WBC Cares,” said co-founder Sean Sharkey. “Our goal is to incorporate this curriculum in schools all over the world and we believe our partnership with the WBC Cares will better broaden our mission for the betterment of students across the globe.”
The World Boxing Council has crowned an array of some of the most famous world champions, several of whom continue to be household names to this day. These include Muhammed AliSugar Ray LeonardMike TysonJulio Cesar ChavezSaul “Canelo” Alvarez, and Manny Pacquiao to name a few. 
“We started the WBC Cares program to help children all around the world and the Feet First Foundation aligns with our goals,” said Jill Diamond, WBC Cares, International Chair. “I can envision this curriculum being implemented in schools nationally and internationally, with a variety of our champions showing support. We are pleased to endorse their movement with this partnership.”
In keeping with the high standards established by this partnership, Feet First announces their new brand ambassador, undefeated Super Lightweight prospect Omar “El Relámpago” Juarez (9-0, 4 KOs), a rising star fighting under the Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC) banner.Omar has been contributing to his community in Brownsville, Texas since he was 16-years old through motivational speeches to over 35,000 students in more than 20 campuses. He is also the annual guest of honor at “A Night to Shine”, a prom styled event held for special needs children every March, sponsored by Brownsville’s “Down By The Border” and the nationally recognized “Tim Tebow Foundation”.
Omar Juarez is an embodiment of the strong character that Feet First Foundation and WBC Cares seek to replicate around the world, and both organizations are looking forward to a future helping as many children as possible.
“I’m a huge fan of the WBC Cares program so its enlightening to be part of this movement with Feet First, as together I know we can help a lot of students.” said Juarez. “I believe this program will benefit society in many ways. I’m all in.”
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Oct 20, 2020

LOS ÁNGELES, California 19 de octubre de 2020, TravisMathew estará orgullosamente asociándose con Óscar De LaHoya desde hoy 19 de octubre hasta mañana 20 de octubre, para una venta en línea y recaudación de fondos que beneficiará a la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya. Durante estos dos días, el 100% de las ganancias de las ventas en se destinará a apoyar esta increíble fundación.
            Óscar De La Hoya, quien nació y se crio en el Este de Los Ángeles, literalmente peleó para llegar a la cima de su carrera. Desde su comienzo en el boxeo amateur hasta una medalla de oro olímpica y 10 títulos mundiales profesionales en seis categorías distintas, De La Hoya aprendió literalmente a lidiar con los golpes para lograr el éxito. Ahora está brindando ese éxito a otros en su comunidad.              “La buena atención médica y la educación son dos de las claves del éxito en la vida”, dijo De La Hoya. “Tan pronto como fui bendecido con un poco de éxito en el ring, quise retribuir a través de una fundación y las escuelas y hospitales fueron donde enfoqué mis energías”, puntualizó.             En 1995, De La Hoya comenzó su fundación. Dedicada a brindar una mejor calidad de vida a los jóvenes desfavorecidos del Este de Los Ángeles y sus familias, la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya abrió una escuela autónoma e invirtió en la salud de la comunidad con el Centro Oncológico Cecilia González De La Hoya, Óscar De La Hoya Labor and Delivery Center, y la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos Neonatales Óscar De La Hoya.             “Si bien estoy orgulloso de lo que logré en el boxeo, tener mi nombre en un hospital que está salvando vidas y una escuela autónoma que está levantando a los niños — ese es mi verdadero legado”, continuó De La Hoya.             Hoy, con la ayuda de muchos socios, la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya sirve a miles de personas anualmente, apoyando varios programas extracurriculares que promueven opciones de vida positivas y protegen a los jóvenes de las circunstancias de vivir en comunidades desfavorecidas.              “Es una causa y una asociación realmente emocionante”, dijo Ryan Ellis, el Jefe Ejecutivo de Travis Mathew quien relataba su entusiasmo por el proyecto. “Cuando comenzamos esto construimos una relación tan buena con Óscar que queríamos ayudar en todo lo que pudiéramos. A medida que aprendimos más, nos apasionaba tanto el proyecto que nos propusimos la meta de intentar hacer la mayor donación en la historia de TravisMathew y de la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya”, explicó.              “A través de esta venta, tendremos la capacidad de crear más oportunidades para las personas que provienen de un entorno diverso y desfavorecido. Óscar ha construido una base increíble y nos sentimos afortunados de poder ser parte de su crecimiento y retribuir”, subrayó.              Durante la venta especial en línea de 48 horas de TravisMathew del 19 al 20 de octubre, la mercadería estará a la venta con un descuento del 50% al 60%, mientras que el 100% de las ganancias de la venta se donarán a la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya.             “TravisMathew es una marca increíble y les agradezco por asociarse con la fundación”, continuó De La Hoya. “Estoy seguro que esta asociación resultará en beneficios significativos para el hospital, la escuela y todos los elementos de la Fundación”, finalizó.             ¡No pierda la oportunidad de apoyar a la Fundación Óscar De La Hoya comprando en nuestra venta especial del 19 al 20 de octubre! Juntos podemos hacer un mañana más brillante. 

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Three Suspects Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 1415 West Gulf Bank Road

Oct 20, 2020
Three Suspects Arrested, Charged in Fatal Shooting at 1415 West Gulf Bank Road
Charges have been filed against three suspects arrested in the fatal shooting of a man at 1415 West Gulf Bank Road about 6:15 p.m. on October 1. 

The suspects, Tyree Brooks (b/m, 24), Kobe Spears (b/m, 18), and Demerrian Samuels (b/m, 17), are charged with capital murder in the 179th State District Court.  They are accused in the death of Carlos Hernandez, 23, who died at the scene.  

Booking photos of the suspects are attached to this news release.    

HPD Homicide Division Detectives K. Clark and M. Nicotra reported:  

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting at an apartment complex at the above address and found Mr. Hernandez lying in the parking lot with an apparent gunshot wound.  Paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced him deceased.  

According to witnesses, Hernandez and three male suspects got into a verbal altercation, which quickly escalated into Hernandez being shot.  The suspects, described only as three black males between 20 and 30 years of age, were seen getting into a vehicle and fleeing the location.  

Further investigation identified Brooks, Spears and Samuels as the suspects in this case and, on Thursday (October 15), all three were arrested and charged for their involvement in the shooting.
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Oct 20, 2020
HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department encourages people to forgo traditional trick-or-treating and Halloween gatherings this year in favor of safer alternatives. Going door-to-door and attending traditional Halloween events are high-risk activities for spreading COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“The City of Houston is not canceling Halloween this year, but we are discouraging people from gathering in large groups. It is important that we keep the COVID-19 numbers moving in the right direction. This requires us to be smarter about how we trick-or-treat,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Families and children can still have a ghoulish good time without jeopardizing their health and safety during the pandemic.”

A safer alternative is one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while maintaining a safe social distance. This can be accomplished by setting up a table or blanket at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard.

“While the one-way alternative is safer than traditional trick-or-treating, it still comes with a moderate risk of virus transmission,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “While there isn’t a way to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission with any activity, we can take simple steps to reduce it.”

Haunted houses and other indoor activities are also high risk for COVID-19 transmission. Safer options for Halloween fun include:Haunted forests for easier social distancing;Halloween scavenger hunts or spooky movie nights with household members;Baking Halloween-themed treats with household members; andVirtual costume parties.A costume mask is not a substitute for a face cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that cover the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

People should not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it harder to breathe. A safer alternative is using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

People who may have COVID-19: those with fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, new loss of taste or smell, and diarrhea, and people exposed to someone who tested positive should not answer the door to trick-or-treaters.

Houstonians should continue to mask up, social distance, wash hands and get tested to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People can visit or call 832-393-4220 to find a nearby free testing site.

About Better. Together.
We are better when we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can put Houston on the road to recovery. Thank you for making H-Town BETTER. TOGETHER.
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City of Houston Recommendations for Reopening Sanctuaries and Faith-Based Organizations during COVID-19 Pandemic

Oct 20, 2020

The City of Houston Announces Recommendations for Reopening Sanctuaries and Faith-Based Organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Mayor’s Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Task Force announced guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as sanctuaries and faith-based organizations reopen their doors for religious services. 

The Mayor was joined by Dr. Irishea Hilliard of New Light Church and Reverend Rodrigo Vargas of Union Houston. Both are members of the H.E.R Task Force’s Faith and Community Leaders Subcommittee, a group of religious leaders who provided input and recommendations for creating the guidelines.

The task force strongly encouraged limiting the occupancy of facilities at 25% capacity and offering members the option to pre-register. 

 “Many Houstonians are people of faith and want to return to in-person worship services. The recommendations give people a road map on how to move forward without risking their health and safety,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The H.E.R. Task Force reviewed three critical questions; How do we protect congregants? How do we assure communities we are doing all we can to protect them? And, how do we minimize the risk of transmission?

“As a faith leader, I closed my house of worship services and went back to virtual services. I wanted to make certain my parishioners and members were safe,” said Pastor Irishea Hilliard.

Additionally, the guidelines recommend that employees and members of a house of worship avoid touching and sharing audiovisual equipment such as microphones, instruments, and the removal of hymnals, pens, and offering envelopes. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to be on the task force,” said Pastor Rodrigo Vargas. “I thank the Mayor and others for their leadership. I appreciate the opportunity to invest our time, innovation, and faith, into making our city safe, while at the same time respecting our worship centers.”

“Since the pandemic began, our number one priority has been to keep Houstonians safe,” said Shannon Buggs, Director of the City of Houston Complete Communities Initiatives, and head of the Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Task Force leader. “Early on, the Mayor’s Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Task Force recognized places of worship as foundational elements in our society. I appreciate and applaud the diligence of the Faith & Community Leaders Sub-Committee for bringing together faith and civic leaders who spent several months discussing and developing the sanctuary reopening guidelines for the protection of all Houstonians.” 

The set of guidelines also include the use of clear signage in parking lots, halls, and entrances, the availability of hand sanitizing stations, and possible temperature checks. 

The recommended guidelines for reopening sanctuaries and faith-based organizations can be found on

“I was proud to witness how the spiritual leaders of our community, regardless of their beliefs, joined forces in providing their feedback to create such a comprehensive set of recommendations,” said Janice Weaver, Director of Community Relations, who coordinated the efforts of the Faith and Community Leaders Sub-Committee.

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Mayor Turner recognizes National Code Compliance Month

Oct 15, 2020
Mayor Turner Recognizes National Code Compliance Month
October observance promotes public awareness of importance of code enforcement to keep communities safe
HOUSTON – The City of Houston joins municipalities across the country in the observance of National Code Compliance Month during October to recognize the important role city code enforcement officers play to help maintain safe communities. 
During the pandemic, Houston code enforcement officers continue their work as essential workers, deploying to locations throughout the city to inspect homes, apartments, commercial buildings, streets and sidewalks for the safety of Houstonians.
“Our code enforcement officers are certified, highly qualified professionals with a demanding and challenging job,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “They are constantly in the public eye, called upon to apply their knowledge, expertise and community relations skills to deliver excellent customer service.  They  interact with residents, property owners, city officials and commissions to enforce city codes and keep our city up to standards, clear of blight, nuisances and public safety hazards. During National Code Compliance Month, we invite Houstonians to join us as we proudly thank them for their hard work, professionalism and dedication to serving our city.”
The city’s cadre of code enforcement officers work under several city departments, including the Department of Neighborhoods (DON), the Houston Fire Department (HFD) and Houston Public Works (HPW).

“The quality of life and safety of all city residents depends on the enforcement of the city’s municipal code,” said DON director TaKasha Francis. ‘We proudly recognize the work our inspectors, crews, support staff and managers carry out year-round to improve the living environment for residents across the city. Our code enforcement officers inspect for compliance on single-family residential property as pertains to overgrown lots, dangerous buildings, junk accumulation, inoperable motor vehicles and graffiti. They enforce codes that prohibit bandit signs on city property and right of way. They also educate residents about how to correct and avoid code violations, aiming for property owner code compliance to avoid the cost of taxpayer dollars for abatements. Further, their work helps keep our communities safe and clean, lowers crime rates, decreases urban decay and illnesses, and increases economic vitality in neighborhoods.”
“We are extremely proud of our department’s code enforcement officers from the Life Safety Bureau and the work they do to keep the public safe,” said HFD Chief Samuel Peña. “They not only conduct inspections to identify and eliminate hazards that help prevent accidents and injury to residents, but also support fire safety community education. Our code enforcement officers work in teams, assigned to high rise buildings, haz-mat, institutions, special operations, schools, general occupancy, apartments, hotels and motels. I take this opportunity to thank them for the fine work they do in protecting our great city.”
“At Houston Public Works, together we create a strong foundation for Houston to thrive,” said HPW director Carol Haddock. “We review, issue permits for, and inspect more than 30,000 projects each year. Our 200 code officers make sure that buildings where people live and play are safe and that our streets, drainage systems, sidewalks, water and wastewater connections, and even our signs are built to City of Houston codes. Thank you to all the code officers in the City for their dedication to making sure our community is safe and projects comply with Houston’s codes.”
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Medicare recipients eligible for free benefits counseling from Area Agency on Aging

Oct 15, 2020
Medicare recipients eligible for free benefits counseling from Houston Health Department’s Area Agency on Aging
HOUSTON – Medicare beneficiaries reviewing their 2021 health and prescription drug plan options can get free help from benefits counselors with the Harris County Area Agency on Aging, a division of the Houston Health Department.
Medicare open enrollment begins October 15 and runs through December 7. It is a period for beneficiaries to compare all their Medicare options and make changes to their health or prescription drug coverage for the following year.
“There are a few new things this year. Many of the drug plans are offering a 30-day supply of insulin for $35 or less a month. If you have diabetes, take insulin, and enroll in one of these plans, you could save almost $500 a year in out-of-pocket costs,” said Rose Ortega, a benefits counselor with the agency.

Face-to-face meetings aren’t feasible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but clients can receive guidance from benefits counselors by scheduling appointments via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The appointments are available at 832-393-4301 or 800-213-8471.

Clients need the following items on-hand during appointments:Medicare card (if changing current benefits)A list of current medicationsAward letter from Social Security or proof of incomeProof of current health insuranceOpen enrollment for most beneficiaries may be the only time they can make changes to their Medicare coverage. They can:Change their Medicare health or prescription drug coverage for 2021;Decide which plan will meet their needs for 2021;Check for changes in their plan such as costs;Check drug coverage; andCheck if they will be able to see their preferred doctor or pharmacy.Medicare beneficiaries or their legal representatives can obtain benefits counseling or more information by calling the Area Agency on Aging’s call center at 832-393-4301. Benefits counselors do not recommend or endorse any specific insurance product, insurance company or plan. They provide information and advice so beneficiaries can make their own decisions.
People can enroll in Medicare if they are 65 or older, under 65 and have a disability or have either end-stage renal disease or ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. This year, end-stage renal disease patients can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

New coverage begins January 1, 2021 Medicare plans can be previewed at
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Mayor Turner kicks off the first day of early voting with university students

Oct 15, 2020
Mayor Turner kicks off the first day of early voting with the Mayor’s Early Vote College Challenge and releases public service announcement encouraging all Houstonians to vote
Mayor Sylvester Turner announces the Mayor’s Early Vote College Challenge at the University of Houston on the first day of early voting. 
HOUSTON – Mayor Turner kicked off the first day of early voting with students from the University of Houston (UH) and Texas Southern University (TSU).

The Mayor announced the Mayor’s Early Vote College Challenge, a challenge encouraging students from the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and Rice University to cast their ballots during early voting. Mayor Turner will receive a daily report of the turnout on local campuses and will announce the winning school after the election.

During his visit to Texas Southern University, Mayor Turner took part in TSU’s Student March to the Polls. The Mayor joined TSU students by marching down the campus to the TSU polling location where he casted his ballot.  

On the first day of early voting, Harris County smashed a record previously set in the 2016 election cycle. 
Mayor Turner marches down to the TSU polling location and is joined by TSU students and faculty. 
Mayor Turner is asking young people to vote early and on election day by sharing their experiences on social media.

“Our students are the future of this country and their voices must be heard,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “This is the most important election of our time and you simply cannot sit it out and expect to be heard. Voting is a fundamental right and the most powerful way to express one’s self. I am encouraging everyone to participate in early voting this year and vote all the way down the ballot.”

The mayor also released a public service announcement on the first day of early voting.
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