5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, Dec. 7

7 injured in oil storage tank explosion at Magellan plant in Corpus Christi, firefighters say

Here are things to know for Monday, Dec. 7

1. Storage tank explosion at Texas petroleum facility injures 7

Seven contractors were injured, four critically, when a storage tank at a petroleum facility in Texas exploded after catching fire Saturday morning, according to fire officials.

The fire began about 10 a.m. near a crude oil storage tank in Corpus Christi that was being cleaned and inspected, said Mark Calhoun, operations manager for Magellan Midstream Partners.

“As far as the cause, we don’t really know just yet what happened, what caused the fire,” Calhoun said. “We will absolutely fully cooperate with the investigation ... and Magellan will also complete a thorough internal investigation as well.”

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2. Lawmakers say COVID-19 relief bill won’t offer $1,200 checks

With time running out, lawmakers on Sunday closed in on a proposed COVID-19 relief bill that would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits but not another round of $1,200 in direct payments to most Americans, leaving that issue for President-elect Joe Biden to wrestle over with a new Congress next year.

The $908 billion aid package to be released Monday would be attached to a larger year-end spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this coming weekend.

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3. Texas announces extension of emergency SNAP benefits amid COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday the state will provide $182 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for the month of July, as the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size.

“The extension of these emergency SNAP benefits helps ensure that Texans can provide nutritious food for their families as the state continues to combat COVID-19,” said Abbott. “Securing access to healthy food in our communities is an important part of our response to this pandemic.”

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4. Gene-editing treatment shows promise for sickle cell disease

Scientists are seeing promising early results from the first studies testing gene editing for painful, inherited blood disorders that plague millions worldwide, especially Black people.

Doctors hope the one-time treatment, which involves permanently altering DNA in blood cells with a tool called CRISPR, may treat and possibly cure sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

Doctors described 10 patients who are at least several months removed from their treatment. All no longer need regular blood transfusions and are free from pain crises that plagued their lives before

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5. Astros’ Alex Bregman gets married to Reagan Howard

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Reagan Howard have tied the knot, according to the bride’s Instagram account. Howard shared the exciting news on Instagram on Sunday.

“Married to my best friend,” she wrote.

In January, the couple got engaged during a family trip to Aspen, Colorado.

A few months ago, Bregman told KPRC 2 the wedding may be delayed due to COVID-19. He said he worried that the upcoming MLB season would interfere with their wedding plans.

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