5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Dec. 31

Monolith in the Houston Heights area on the corner of 17th and Beverly. (Copyright - KPRC)

Here are things to know for Thursday, Dec. 31:

1. 2 men detained after reports of possible bomb on flight headed to Houston, officials say

A United flight headed to Houston was diverted to Alexandria International Airport after reports of a possible explosive device onboard, according to Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.

At 12:24 p.m., the sheriff’s office received a call of a reported inbound aircraft emergency, officials said.

The flight was en route from Jackson, Mississippi to Houston before being diverted to Louisiana, according to deputies. The aircraft landed safely and passengers were deplaned, deputies said.

Deputies said two persons of interest were detained.

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2. LCSO looking for Cleveland mother who was taken at gunpoint outside home

One family is desperately searching for their loved one and the suspect that witnesses said abducted her at gunpoint Tuesday night.

Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies searching for a suspect who kidnapped a Cleveland mother at gunpoint around 9:30 p.m. outside her home on County Road 3404.

Family members of 32-year-old Erika Rios Valdez said she had just gotten home. They said she was parking her food service trailer outside her home when a man in a white pickup truck held her at gunpoint, forced her into the truck, and then took off.

Deputies said the suspect is 38-year-old Abel Fajardo, an acquaintance of Erika Valdez. Her brother Alfredo Valdez saw what happened and tried to chase Fajardo, who was driving a 2005 White GMC “Duelie” pick-up truck with the world “DURAMAX” on the back windshield with Illinois plates.

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3. Monolith appears in Houston neighborhood

Houstonians in one neighborhood are baffled by the appearance of a silver monolith, similar to those discovered around the world.

The monolith is located at 11th and Beverly Streets in the Heights.

It looks nearly identical to the ones discovered in Utah and Romania, but it appears to be made of cardboard or plastic instead of metal.

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4. Galveston nixes Mardi Gras 2021 celebration amid COVID-19 concerns

You can say goodbye to Mardi Gras Galveston in 2021.

Galveston city council unanimously voted Tuesday to approve canceling next year’s Mardi Gras celebration amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was originally scheduled for Feb. 5-16, 2021.

The city plans to resume the festivities after the virus has been contained.

Read more.

5. Turner says he plans to receive COVID-19 vaccine next week

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that he is scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine next week.

Turner will join a growing group of state and local leaders who are hoping to set an example and encourage those who are reluctant to get the vaccine by publicly receiving it. He said he is scheduled to be vaccinated Monday.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Turner emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and the impact leaders can make in their communities.

Read more.

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