Application for COVID-19 Relief Fund Opens June 23 and 24

Jun 25, 2020

Dear friends, 
The Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund will open its online and phone application process for financial assistance to eligible Harris County residents on June 23 and June 24. In May, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court approved the creation of the $30 million COVID-19 Relief Fund to be distributed to an estimated 20,000 households that are among the hardest hit financially by the pandemic, and are ineligible or cannot afford to wait for other assistance. Selected households will receive between an estimated $1,200 and $1,500. 
“We have a moral obligation to take care of our most vulnerable residents,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Far too many of our neighbors, friends and family members – through no fault of their own – have lost their jobs. They are struggling to pay rent, their bills, and to put food on the table. As a community we must rally together to ensure that our most vulnerable residents don’t fall through the cracks. This fund will provide thousands of families with some immediate and much-needed relief.”
The online application will open on HarrisCountyRelief.org on Tuesday, June 23 at 6 a.m. and close on Wednesday, June 24 at 10 p.m. You can also apply over the phone by calling the COVID-19 Relief Fund’s phone center at (832) 848-0214. The phone center will be receiving calls from applicants on June 23 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and June 24 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The online and phone application will be available in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Korean, and Vietnamese. Applications are not first-come, first-served. Instead, awardees will be selected through a randomized selection process from among the applicants.
To be eligible for funds, applicants must live in Harris County and meet certain household income and public benefits criteria. The fund is open to immigrant households. Given the enormous need, the fund is likely to receive more applications than funding available. To ensure the funds are reaching those most deeply impacted and vulnerable in our communities, the selection process will prioritize residents in Harris County’s most vulnerable census tracts. 
For more information on the COVID-19 Relief Fund application, eligibility criteria, and the selection process, please visit HarrisCountyRelief.org. Those in need of immediate assistance are encouraged to call 211 Texas/United Way helpline to find an organization in your geographic region that can serve you.

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Mayor Turner distributes masks, encourages compliance with Harris County order requiring face coverings inside businesses beginning Monday

Jun 25, 2020
Mayor Turner and volunteers distribute thousands of face masks.
Mayor encourages everyone to wear masks and comply with new Harris County mandate to help stop the spread of COVID-19
HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner joined volunteers to distribute thousands of face coverings Saturday afternoon as businesses throughout Houston prepare to enforce a new Harris County mandate requiring customers to wear masks.

On Friday, Mayor Turner joined Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo as she announced a new order mandating that everyone over the age of 10 wear a face covering while in businesses or on commercial properties, including employees and all visitors and customers. The order will be in effect at 12:01AM on Monday, June 22.

“Toward the end of April and the first couple weeks of May, we flattened the curve, and the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases were heading in the right direction. Now, the numbers are starting to tick up, and we are encouraging everyone to mask up,” said Mayor Turner, who believes the mandate can help stop the virus spread and save lives. 

On Saturday afternoon, the mayor was joined at the mask distribution by members of FOCUS Humanitarian USA and the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern US. Earlier this week, the organizations donated 500,000 reusable face masks to the City of Houston, which the mayor said would help vulnerable populations and first responders.

The mayor and volunteers distributed thousands of masks along with boxed canned goods supplied by the Houston Food Bank. 

The Heath Equity Resource (H.E.R.) Task Force also assisted in Saturday’s mask giveaway. The  H.E.R.Task Force is a vital component of the City of Houston’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery effort launched by Mayor Turner in April 2020 as an intervention for vulnerable and at-risk populations. The task force helped create the MASK UP! campaign to encourage everyone to wear a mask in public spaces protect the entire community.

“Scientifically, medically, what we do know is that masks work. If you need a mask, contact  the city or directly contact your city council member,” said Mayor Turner.  

The Houston Health Department reported 844 new cases of COVID-19, on Saturday, June 20, bringing the total case count for the City of Houston to 12,533.
Ten additional deaths were reported bringing the total to 191.
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in 2018 Woman’s Death at 3806 Wipprecht Street

Jun 19, 2020
Suspect Arrested, Charged in 2018 Woman’s Death at 3806 Wipprecht Street
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the death of a woman at 3806 Wipprecht Street #17 about 1 p.m. on February 24, 2018.

The suspect, David Chalfant (w/m, 51) is charged with murder in the 179th State District Court.  A previous booking photo of Chalfant is attached to this news release.

The victim, Cynthia Johnson, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene.

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant M. Holbrook and Detective J. Roscoe reported:

HPD patrol officers arrived at the address following a report an individual was found deceased.  The victim was badly decomposed and the cause of death initially undetermined by an autopsy.

In February of 2020, HPD homicide detectives met with suspect Chalfant who was in a Texas prison on an unrelated conviction.  There, Chalfant confessed to killing Ms. Johnson by strangling and suffocating her.  

Further investigation led to Chalfant being charged in this case.
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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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Mayor Turner Accepts Donation of 500,000 Reusable Face Masks From Focus Humanitarian USA and Ismaili Council for the Southwestern US

Jun 19, 2020
Mayor Turner Accepts Donation of 500,000 Reusable Face Masks From Focus Humanitarian USA and Ismaili Council for the Southwestern US
HOUSTON – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner accepted 500,000 reusable face masks from Focus Humanitarian USA (FOCUS USA) and the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States.

Mayor Turner encourages all Houstonians to wear a mask to protect each other from COVID-19. This donation of half a million masks will help get them into the hands of anyone who needs a mask.

“The City of Houston sincerely thanks Focus Humanitarian USA and the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States for making this generous donation. Both organizations have always supported the community during a time of need. We are in a public health crisis now, and face masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. 



“Whether it is donating and distributing protective face masks, organizing food and supply drives, restoring historic homes and buildings, or supporting access to the arts, the Ismaili Muslim community actualizes our common values by serving others,” said Murad Ajani, President of the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern US.

“This donation is one more manifestation of a collaboration between the Ismaili Imamat and the State of Texas that calls for collaboration to reduce risk and respond to threats to public health, safety and the welfare of vulnerable communities,” said Shenila Momin, Chairperson of FOCUS USA.

The face masks will be distributed among residents and first responders as part of the City’s overall response efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Incident at 6310 Dumfries Drive

Jun 17, 2020
Charges have been filed against a suspect who was wounded after pointing a weapon at a Houston police officer at 6310 Dumfries Drive about 11:45 p.m. on May 28.  

The suspect, Damian Gutierrez (H/m, 18), is charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer and felony evading arrest in the 185th State District Court.  A booking photo of Gutierrez is attached to this news release.

HPD Officer A. Jackson, who discharged his duty weapon, was sworn in as an officer in August 2015, and is assigned to the Gang Division.  Officer Jackson was not injured in the incident.  

HPD Special Investigations Unit Detectives I. Ulloa, R. Lujan, M. Resnick, J. Brown and G. Rodgers reported:  

Officer Jackson observed the driver of a black Toyota Camry commit a traffic violation in the 11000 block of Fondren Road and activated his emergency equipment to conduct a traffic stop.  The suspect, later identified as Gutierrez, ignored commands to pull over and evaded in his vehicle.  Officer Jackson pursued the vehicle to the 10100 block of Sandpiper Drive, where Gutierrez stopped his vehicle, exited and fled on foot.  

As Gutierrez fled to 6310 Dumfries Drive, he produced a handgun.  Officer Jackson gave repeated verbal commands to Gutierrez to drop the weapon, which he ignored.  Fearing for his life, Officer Jackson discharged his duty weapon and struck Gutierrez.  Paramedics transported Gutierrez to an area hospital with non-life threatening wounds.  He was released from the hospital and subsequently charged for his role in the incident.  

As is customary in HPD officer-involved shooting incidents in the city limits, this case is being investigated by the HPD Special Investigations Unit, the Internal Affairs Division and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office
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Mayor Turner signs letter to governor asking for local control on face masks during pandemic

Jun 17, 2020
Mayor Turner joins “Big City” Texas mayors in urging Gov. Abbott to allow local control on face masks to protect citizens from COVID-19 spread.
HOUSTON –  As doctors in Houston and across the state express concern about the number of rising COVID-19 cases, Mayor Sylvester Turner today joined other Texas mayors in a letter urging Gov. Greg Abbott to give them the authority to require face masks to protect their cities from coronavirus. 

The letter signed by nine mayors states, “We are writing to you for the authority to set rules and regulations on the use of face coverings in each of our cities. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the best option. We should trust local officials to make informed choices about health policy. And if mayors are given the opportunity to require face coverings, we believe our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease.”

A copy of the letter can be found here. 
The governor had not responded by Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the Houston Health Department reported 233 new cases of COVID-19 cases,  bringing Houston’s total to 10,318. The total number of deaths increased by two to 162.


Mayor Turner encourages all Houstonians to wear face coverings, practice
social distancing and good hygiene.
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Houston Fire Station Moves into New and Improved Home

Jun 17, 2020
Houston Fire Station Moves into New and Improved Home
Recently, Houston Firefighters moved from their 3-bay Fire Station 55, “The Double Nickel” as it is commonly referred to, located at 11212 Cullen to their new 16,800 square foot, 5-bay Station at 11402 Cullen Blvd 77047, serving the South Acres / Crestmont Park community.
 
“This is a welcomed addition due to the recent residential and commercial growth in the community,” says Assistant Fire Chief of Resource Management Ruy Lozano.
 
The original Fire Station 55 was built in 1963, at what was at the time, the southeastern most city limits at Cullen and Selinsky Rd.  Construction for the new Fire Station 55 began in June of 2018 with a total design and construction cost of $9,065,325.
 
The new building meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification that includes a geothermal HVAC system.  The Fire Station was designed by English + Associates Architects and constructed by the Teal Construction Company.
 
One of the most visual differences in the new Fire Station are the bright red vertical folding doors.  These folding doors provide the safety of always being in view of the driver, to reduce the possibility of accidental damage that happens when overhead doors are used. New Fire Station 55 also contains a “Community Room,” which provides a separate and private area for medical evaluation in the case of a “walk-in” patient.
 
The crews are currently working with the City’s General Services Department to complete punch lists and make minor modification for better accommodations to the members.
 
Fire Station 55 houses an Engine Co., Ladder Co., and two EMS transport units and like all HFD Fire Stations, is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  From the start of this year, the crews of Fire Station 55 have responded to more than 3,500 EMS related incidents and over 300 fire related incidents.
 
“The new station signals a new era for the men and women of station 55 and for the neighborhoods they serve,” says Fire Chief Samuel Peña. “ It is a much needed addition to help our firefighters continue to safely protect our community, and beyond improving the quality of life in between training and emergency response, it is a reflection of the dedication the men and women of the HFD have in protecting their community.  The fire department represents the best in government and the new station 55 reflects the same.”     
 
Media may schedule individual tours by contacting our office at hfdnewsroom@houstontx.gov.
 
A Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be scheduled when appropriate.
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Mayor Sylvester Turner Tests Negative for COVID-19 After Testing a Second Time

Jun 17, 2020
HOUSTON – For a second time, Mayor Sylvester Turner has tested negative for COVID-19. The mayor announced his test results today after he and some  members of his city hall team took the test for a second time over the weekend.

Mayor Turner decided to get tested again after participating in the George Floyd march on June 2, and attending Floyd’s memorial and funeral as an invited guest and speaker. Mayor Turner encourages all Houstonians who are taking part in rallies and other large gatherings to get tested. This also applies to Houstonians who are going to busy clubs, restaurants and returning to work.

“There are free COVID-19 testing sites throughout our city, and I encourage everyone to utilize this service. The results will help you take better control of your health during the pandemic,” said Mayor Turner. “Continue to wear a mask if you are around others in public and maintain six feet to social distance. We all must do our part to protect each other from the virus.”




For the latest information and to locate a COVID-19 testing site near you, please  visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.
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PIVOTAL BOUT BETWEEN HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDERS (#3) CURTIS BLAYDES AND (#7) ALEXANDER VOLKOV HEADLINES JUNE 20 EVENT AT UFC® APEX

Jun 17, 2020

PIVOTAL BOUT BETWEEN HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDERS (#3) CURTIS BLAYDES AND (#7) ALEXANDER VOLKOV HEADLINES JUNE 20 EVENT AT UFC® APEX

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FEATURED BOUTS:

(#8) JOSH EMMETT vs. (#10) SHANE BURGOS

(#6) RAQUEL PENNINGTON vs. (#10) MARION RENEAU

Las Vegas – UFC® continues its run of shows at UFC APEX with a thrilling heavyweight clash featuring No. 3 ranked contender Curtis Blaydes and No. 7 Alexander Volkov. The co-main event will see a battle between surging featherweight contenders, as No. 8 ranked Josh Emmett faces No. 10 Shane Burgos.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN®: BLAYDES vs. VOLKOV will take place Saturday, June 20 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The main card begins at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. The preliminary card will kick off at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT. The event will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance.

Currently riding a three-fight win streak, Blaydes (13-2 1NC, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) made a huge statement in his last outing this past January by securing an emphatic TKO victory over former champion Junior Dos Santos. The 29-year-old standout also holds spectacular wins against Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik. Blaydes now looks to keep his momentum going and deliver another impressive finish to cement his status as a heavyweight title threat.

Victorious in seven of his last eight bouts, Volkov (31-7, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) looks to continue his winning ways following a dominant victory over Greg Hardy in November. Since joining the UFC roster in 2016, the talented striker has also earned impressive wins over Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson. Volkov now aims to crack the heavyweight top five by taking out one of the division’s most dangerous contenders.

A member of Team Alpha Male, Emmett (15-2, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) aims to capture his third consecutive win in the UFC’s talent-stacked featherweight division. Since dropping down to 145 pounds in 2017, Emmett has delivered sensational KO wins over Mirsad Bektic, Michael Johnson and Ricardo Lamas. Emmett now hopes to take out another surging featherweight to continue his hot streak.

Currently riding a three-fight win streak, Burgos (13-1, fighting out of Monroe, N.Y.) has established himself as a featherweight contender to watch. During his most recent run, Burgos has delivered impressive victories against Makwan Amirkhani, Cub Swanson and Kurt Holobaugh. Burgos now looks to stop another highly touted contender to further establish himself as a dangerous title threat.

Additional bouts on the card include:

  • No. 6 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Raquel Pennington (10-9, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.) hopes to rebound when she takes on No. 10 Marion Reneau (9-5-1, fighting out of Visalia, Calif.)
  • In a clash of entertaining welterweights, Belal Muhammad (16-3, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) squares off with Lyman Good (21-5 1NC, fighting out of New York, N.Y.)
  • Jim Miller (31-14 1NC, fighting out of Sparta, N.J.) makes his 34th UFC appearance against rising prospect Roosevelt Roberts (11-1, fighting out of San Bernardino, Calif.) in a 160-pound catchweight bout
  • Crafty veterans collide when Clay Guida (35-16, fighting out of Johnsburg, Ill.) faces Bobby Green (24-10-1, fighting out of Fontana, Calif.)
  • No. 12 ranked women’s strawweight contender Tecia Torres (10-5, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.) aims to get back in the win column against rising Brianna Van Buren (9-2, fighting out of Gilroy, Calif.)
  • Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4, fighting out of Quebec City, Que., Canada) hopes to secure his first UFC victory when he takes on Oskar Piechota (11-3-1, fighting out of Gdynia, Poland)
  • No. 15 ranked women’s flyweight contender Cortney Casey (9-7, fighting out of Maui, Hawaii) takes on exciting finisher Gillian Robertson (7-4, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla., by way of Niagara Falls, Ont., Canada)
  • In an exciting featherweight bout guaranteed to deliver fireworks, Matt Frevola (8-1-1, fighting out of Long Island, N.Y.) takes on Frank Camacho (22-8, fighting out of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands)
  • In a clash of women’s flyweight contenders, No. 5 ranked Roxanne Modafferi (24-17, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) meets No. 6 Lauren Murphy (12-4, fighting out of Houston, Tex.)
  • In a battle of lightweight prospects, Austin Hubbard (11-4, fighting out of Denver, Colo.) faces undefeated UFC newcomer Max Rohskopf (5-0, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.)

Visit UFC.com for information and content to support your UFC coverage. Please click here to apply for the event.

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