5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Sept. 17

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Abbott said that childcare facilities, youth camps, some professional sports, and bars may now begin to fully or partially reopen their facilities as outlined by regulations listed on the Open Texas website. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool) (Lynda M. Gonzalez, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS)

Here are things you need to know for Thursday, Sept. 17:

1. After hinting at reopening plan, Gov. Abbott to hold COVID-19 press conference at noon today

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that he will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon to “provide an update on Texas' continued response to COVID-19.”

In early September, Abbott hinted on social media that he hoped to provide the “next steps” on coronavirus restrictions in the state.

The press conference is scheduled for noon Thursday and will be held in the Governor’s Press Conference Room in the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

Click2Houston.com will livestream the press conference when it takes place.

Read more.

2. Houston woman charged in $2M COVID-19 relief fund fraud

A Houston woman was charged after she fraudulently obtained more than $1.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program, according to Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.

According to the criminal complaint, Lola Shalewa Barbara Kasali, 22, submitted at least two fraudulent PPP loan applications.

She received more than $1.9 million in PPP loan funds and after the approval of Lola’s Level application, according to the complaint.

Read more.

3. These Houston-area groups rehabilitate, help former inmates to prevent re-incarceration

The discussion around criminal justice reform in Harris County is complex and often heated. Stakeholders disagree on what that change should look like and how to go about it. The issue of how to handle repeat offenders is a major sticking point.

According to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, more than 70,000 people return to the community from Texas prisons each year. More than 1 million people cycle through Texas county jails according to the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University.

Read more.

4. Spring Branch drug counselor accused of sexually assaulting 3 women patients

A Spring Branch drug counselor is accused of sexually preying on troubled women he was supposed to be helping.

Michael Hubacek, 42, was charged with sexually assaulting three women that were clients of the private substance abuse treatment centers he operates in Spring Branch.

He was arrested Wednesday morning and made his first court appearance to hear the charges against him.

Read more.

5. UT Health, Memorial Hermann doctors save dying man with coronavirus by performing rare double lung transplant

UT Health and Memorial Hermann are the first in Texas to perform a double lung transplant that saved the life of a man suffering from COVID-19.

Francisco Medellin is a retired construction worker who lived with diabetes and had no other underlying health conditions, according to Memorial Hermann.

After he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in June, he developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and continued to get worse.

Read more.

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