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Legislators split on attending Inauguration

G. Green, K. Brady go; S. J. Lee, A. Green say “no”

WASHINGTON – Last Friday, Jan. 20 the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, was sworn into office in a ceremony at noon at the U.S. Capital.

Trump’s campaign, and his rhetoric since the election, have drawn criticism which continued into the inauguration itself.

Sixty Congressmen, all Democrats, declined to attend the ceremony, which is a traditional event they usually don’t miss. Most cited disagreement with Trump’s statements, or legislative agenda for his term, and by not attending they expressed their opposition. In addition, the day of the swearing in there were violent demonstrations through the city, and the next day, Saturday, massive crowds estimated at one-half million persons joined a demonstration termed the “Women’s March” to show Trump they disagreed with his statements on women’s rights, healthcare, immigration, reproductive rights, and more. This crowd of women, with some men, was estimated to exceed the crowd at the inauguration by twice the number.

Local legislators were split on their decision to attend the swearing in ceremonies, or not to attend. These included Gene Green, Kevin Brady, Ted Poe, and Brian Babin choosing to be at the ceremony, and Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green choosing not to go. Brady, Poe, and Babin are Republicans, the others are Democrats.

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Mayor Turner SWATS down flooding with new strike team

In a move that represents a major shift in the City’s approach to improving drainage and mitigating flooding, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced formation of the Storm Water Action Team. The SWAT will work proactively to reduce drainage problems that are not directly attributed to overflow from the bayous that are under the control of the Harris County Flood Control District. Projects have been selected based on 311 calls and other data regarding frequency of flooding. The goal is to expand maintenance capabilities and improve the movement of water from day-today storm events through rehabilitation and upgrade of existing drainage infrastructure.

“No longer will we be reactive,” said Mayor Turner. “This approach will allow us to anticipate when and where improvements are needed and then take care of them before we have a problem. Last year, we focused on repairing potholes and streets. In 2017, the emphasis will be on flooding and drainage. This is the next big step in improving Houston’s infrastructure. There will be more announcements to come about additional work in this area later in the year.”

Approximately 100 deferred maintenance projects spread throughout the city have been initially identified for inclusion in the SWAT program. City Council has approved an initial round of funding of $10 million so that work can begin on 22 of these projects, two in each council district. The work encompasses everything from replacing sewer inlets and grates to regrading ditches and resizing culverts to minor erosion repairs and regular mowing. A map of the locations of the first 22 projects and a description of the work planned is available at SWAT Projects.

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Postage Rates increased January 22

First increase in 3 years for First-Class

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service has notified the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes for Mailing Services products to take effect on January 22, 2017, following the end of the holiday mailing season. The new prices include a two cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, returning the price to 49 cents, the price of a Forever stamp be- fore the Postal Service was forced to reduce prices by the PRC as part of the exigent surcharge removal.

The last time stamp prices increased was in January 2014. This price change filing does not include any price change for Postcards, for letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The First-Class Mail prices for these products are:

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