5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, August 31

Highway 51 is flooded near LaPlace, Louisiana on Monday morning after Hurricane Ida came ashore on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

Here are things to know for Tuesday, August 31:

1. Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war

The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late Monday, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.

Hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the U.S. war, Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport. Thousands of troops had spent a harrowing two weeks protecting the airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by Taliban militants.

In announcing the completion of the evacuation and war effort. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. Washington time, or one minute before midnight in Kabul. He said a number of American citizens, likely numbering in “the very low hundreds,” were left behind, and that he believes they will still be able to leave the country.

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2. Social media star ‘Miss Mercedes Morr’ is dead in apparent murder-suicide, Richmond police say

The Instagram model is dead after an apparent murder-suicide in Richmond, Fort Bend authorities said Monday.

The body of 33-year-old Janae Gagnier, better known by her social media name of “Miss Mercedes Morr,” was discovered at her home in the Cortland Apartments in the 5200 block of Pointe West Circle at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Richmond police said in a news release.

Her Instagram account has 2.6 million followers, according to the count on Monday. Followers include some high profile individuals like Megan Thee Stallion and Snoop Dogg.

The body of a man, who is believed to be the suspect in Gagnier’s killing, was also located in the residence. The man has been identified as 34-year-old, Kevin Alexander Accorto with an address in Florida.

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3. 2 men charged in killing of New Orleans police detective each claim they were getaway drivers

Two men charged in the death of a New Orleans police detective each told investigators they were the getaway driver in the murder, according to prosecutors.

Frederick Jackson, 19, and Anthony Jenkins, 21, appeared in front of a judge Monday, charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder.

Both have criminal records and were out on bond at the time of the shooting.

Jackson and Jenkins claim they were driving the Nissan Altima used to leave the Grotto Ristorante in the Galleria Area on August 21, and two other friends committed the attempted robbery and the shooting.

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4. Texas deploys firefighters and other aid to Louisiana for Hurricane Ida recovery efforts

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday he would deploy emergency resources to Louisiana to aid in Hurricane Ida recovery efforts.

Texas will send a Chinook helicopter, 14 crew members, 30 fire engines and 132 firefighters. The state has also sent the Texas A&M Task Force One to aid in urban search and rescue efforts.

“The State of Texas is proud to support our neighbors in Louisiana by sending emergency resources and personnel to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida,” Abbott said in a statement. “We will never forget the kindness, generosity, and support offered by the people of Louisiana during Hurricane Harvey four years ago, and we are eager to support them in their own time of need.”

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5. Texas utility settles over sky-high energy bills from freeze

The electric utility Griddy Energy has reached a settlement with Texas officials over crushing electric bills its customers received after the deadly February winter storm and cold wave, the Texas Attorney General’s Office announced Monday.

Griddy Energy sold power to consumers at wholesale prices plus a $9.99 monthly fee. Its rates skyrocketed during the February freeze when the state grid operators raised wholesale prices to $9,000 per megawatt-hour.

The state sued Griddy after customers received bills totaling thousands of dollars. Griddy filed for bankruptcy and confirmed a liquidation plan that waives claims against customers for charges incurred from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, while the $9,000 per megawatt-hour price for wholesale power was in effect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office then entered negotiations toward a settlement.

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