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Posts published in “Day: June 11, 2020

TCEQ to monitor Air Quality in area by using sensor equipped helicopters

One of the Helicopters to be used for Air Monitoring in the Harris County area.

By Carolyn Stone

Precinct 2 Community Liaison Cindy Miller reports that two helicopters, a black one (tail number N808LL and a white one with yellow & black stripes (tail number N300AR), will be flying in our area from May 18th through June 30th, sometimes at very low altitudes and at length over various areas and companies. The helicopters are a part of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) aerial survey for air emissions.

The helicopters are equipped with a specialized infrared camera that can image volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other hydrocarbons invisible to the eye. VOCs pose serious health hazards and sight of these helicopters attempting to identify the sources of the VOC’s in our area should be a welcomed event. Included are photos of the helicopters for your help in identifying them when they are in your area.

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Garcia leads on long-overdue law enforcement reform coming to Harris County

Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia supports new proposed law enforcement procedures.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Commissioner Adrian Garcia supported several proposed new law enforcement procedures to help end police misconduct.

Following his attendance at the funeral for George Floyd Tuesday, and after a marathon session of Harris County Commissioners Court, Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia was on the forefront of several criminal justice reform measures that were ultimately passed by court. The aim of these measures is to create meaningful change to immediately reduce and eventually eliminate misconduct by county law enforcement officials.

Due to the items’ approval, Harris County will soon begin evaluating the following (for expected additional future court action): investigating a standardization of use-of-force tactics, increasing public reporting when law enforcement officials are accused of misconduct, additional sharing of body-cam footage from officer-involved deaths and injuries of suspects, considering a shift in who responds to mental health distress calls, as well as several other groundbreaking moves.

“Though it occurred in Minnesota, here in Harris County, however, the tragic death of George Floyd will not have happened in vain. Real reform of how officers deal with the public is coming, so that going forward, what happened to George will hopefully never be repeated in the county where he grew up. I thank my colleagues on Commissioners Court for their assistance in getting these items approved,” said Commissioner Garcia.

SUMMARY OF ITEMS APPROVED BY COURT:

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Channelview ISD will provide school supplies for in-class instruction for 2020-2021 school year

Decision made to help families during COVID-19

Pandemic June 10, 2020–Channelview ISD will not be asking its parents to purchase school supplies for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. The decision to not provide a school supply list for the upcoming year was made by district leaders in an effort to help the Channelview ISD community during these difficult economic times.

“COVID-19 has had a heartbreaking impact on our nation and local community,” said Channelview ISD Superintendent Greg Ollis. “We will do everything necessary to lift the financial burden off of parents during these tough times, and reassure our students that they will receive the necessary supplies to help them learn.”

Channelview ISD also participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which allows the district to provide free school meals to all its students. CEP is offered to schools in low-income neighborhoods and enables the district to use information from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help better serve the district’s families, and prevent families from completing several applications for free or reduced meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also provide more than 1 billion dollars in food benefits to low-income families due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) will give all Channelview ISD families a one-time payment of 285 dollars to be used for food. Families have until June 30 to sign up for those benefits; https://yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/PEBT.

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Governor announces phase III to open Texas

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase III, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

As with previous phases, the Phase III plan is based on the advice and support of the four doctors on the Strike Force to Open Texas medical team. Via Executive Order, Phase III begins immediately.

“The people of Texas continue to prove that we can safely and responsibly open our state for business while containing COVID19 and keeping our state safe,” said Governor Abbott. “As anticipated, the new positive cases that we are seeing are largely the result of isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants. Thanks to the effectiveness of our Surge Response Teams, we have the ability to contain those hot spots while opening up Texas for business. As we begin Phase III, I ask all Texans and Texas businesses to continue following the standard health protocols and to heed the guidance of our state and federal officials who continue to closely monitor COVID19.”

Between May 26th and June 2nd, over 45% of new cases came from jails or prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes. There are currently 1,487 Texans hospitalized due to COVID-19. There are 20,679 active cases in the state and 45,858 Texans are estimated to have recovered.

Effective June 3:

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County vote by mail applications to increase due to Virus concerns

Voters 65 and over and disabled receiving Applications

By Allan Jamail

HOUSTON – June 5, 2020 – Harris County residents are concerned about voting during the deadly contagious COVID-19 virus that’s spreading person to person across the whole world. Harris County is expecting a large increase of mail-in-voting from voters worried about gathering in crowded polling locations.

The highly contagious disease can be passed on human to human. Studies revealed an infected person even without virus symptoms was spreading the germs as easily as talking to one another by “voice-droplets” transmitted in the air. County health officials are asking residents to stay 6 feet apart and to wear a mask when out in public.

Harris County Commissioners Court voted to spend up to $12 million for an expected uptick in requests for mail-in ballots in the July primary runoff and November general election from voters concerned about contracting the novel coronavirus at polling places.

Lina Hidalgo, County Judge, and Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis — the three Democrats on the five-member court — voted to give $12 million, enough to send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in the county. The two Republican Commissioner members, Steve Radack and Jack Cagle, objected and said the clerk failed to justify the expense, and seemed not to be as concerned about voters possibly being exposed to the virus.

Newly appointed Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins said, “Our office is preparing for an increase in mail ballots in addition to a safe and secure in-person voting process.” Hollins added, “We are working with emergency management and health officials to make sure we follow their safety recommendations.”

He is preparing for a significant expansion of mail voting during the novel corona virus pandemic as some residents are wary of voting at potentially crowded polling sites.

This past Friday the Clerk’s office sent for the July primary runoff vote by mail applications to 376,840 registered voters who are 65 years of age and older. Those voters should expect to start receiving the applications in their mailboxes this week. To receive a mail ballot for the July 14 Primary Runoff Elections, voters must complete their applications and return them promptly by July 2 (received, not postmarked).

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