Grand jury subpoenas Harris County commissioners in connection to canceled $11M vaccine outreach contract
A Harris County contract to conduct an outreach campaign to encourage COVID vaccinations was canceled in September, but the issue has come back to life in the form of grand jury subpoenas for every member of the Harris County Commission.
What’s Next For The Astrodome? A Nonprofit Wants Your Input – Houston Public Media
The Astrodome Conservancy is starting an eight-week program of online surveys, virtual meetings, and public events to gather as much input as possible from Harris County residents on the preferred fate of the domed stadium.houstonpublicmedia.org
Harris County $1.4 billion short on flood control projects that are part of bond voter’s approved after Harvey
More than two years after Harris County voters overwhelmingly approved a $2.5 billion flood control bond, the county announced Tuesday that it is $1.4 billion short. Many of the hundreds of original projects remain unfinished, including in some of the most economically disadvantaged communities. “Halls and Greens, the two poorest watersheds in the county -- they’re basically left out of the process,” said Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia in Commissioner’s Court. “It doesn’t add up at all,” said former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “The commissioner’s court needs to fix it,” said State Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Dist.
Call for Harris County to leave state’s power grid. Is that possible?
HOUSTON – Commissioner Adrian Garcia said Harris County should explore what authority it has to leave the Energy Reliability Council of Texas and will propose Friday in commissioner’s court. It’s been that way for at least half of a century, said Ed Emmett, who formally served as Harris County Judge for more than a decade. “That’s really not their job.”Emmett’s home in the Houston area, on the ERCOT grid, lost power during last week’s winter storm. His cabin in Liberty County, on the MISO grid, did not lose power. “Last time I checked, legislators all represent those same residents of Harris County,” Emmett said.
‘Be realistic about the timeline’: Harris County judge says vaccine rollout will be slow
HOUSTON – Harris County employees are “all hands on deck” distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and efficiently as possible, Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “Harris County health is ramping up to be able to distribute ... up to 5,000 vaccines a day. “The limiting factor is the supply of vaccines.”The county is ready to “ramp up” and distribute enough vaccine doses to catch up to the demand, she added. We are just distributing a small trickle of vaccines.”The overwhelming majority of vaccine doses administered in Harris County and everywhere are given at hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s officers and nursing homes. So far, Harris County has administered more COVID-19 vaccines than any other Texas county.
What is next for $1 billion Houston bridge after county fired bridge designer?
HOUSTON The most expensive single project in Harris County history is in limbo after commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to fire the designer of the $1 billion Houston Ship Channel Replacement Bridge. A vote to hire a replacement designer is scheduled for the next Harris County Commissioners Court in September. Selecting FIGG Bridge EngineersHarris County hired FIGG Bridge Engineers to design the bridge in 2013 and approved the final design in 2017, Ed Emmett said, who served as county judge at the time. The decision to hire FIGG initially by the (Harris County) Toll Road Authority was a reasonable thing to do, he said. Harris County Commissioners plan to hire a new bridge designer, likely COWI, the firm that conducted the independent review.
Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett: More transparency is needed in pandemic response
Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says this pandemic is far worse than anything he had to handle while in the top job of county government. He is a guest on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall and says there are at least a couple of reasons why the response to this pandemic has not been as effective as it could or should be. Lack of transparency in the decision making process Officials more accustomed to public safety issues rather than public health emergencies. Emmett also talks about the state of the Harris County GOP and the potential weakening of both major parties because of catering to the fringe political elements. See full interview on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall and on Houston Newsmakers EXTRA.
Harris County replaces unused NRG Arena tent hospital with new facility for potential COVID-19 surge
HOUSTON – The controversial ‘Tent Hospital’ that was assembled, sat unused and then deconstructed, is being replaced with another facility inside NRG Arena. The price tag is to keep the makeshift 150-bed facility in a state of readiness, Hidalgo said. Air filtration in the section of NRG Arena, where the facility is located, has been upgraded to accommodate patients. Hidalgo said that the new facility is more cost-effective than the old temporary hospital and will be managed by Harris County instead of a third-party contractor. When I hear people talk about ‘in case there’s a second surge,’ last time I checked, we didn’t have the first surge,” KPRC2 Analyst Ed Emmett said.
Is the worst-case scenario hospital built at NRG Park good planning or unnecessary?
HOUSTON – The best-case scenario for the temporary 250-bed tent hospital that was just completed at Houston’s NRG Park is that it will never be used. The price tag could balloon to $60 million if used at full capacity for two months. RELATED: Harris County invests $11 million for emergency healthcare facility at NRG park amid coronavirus pandemicBut, is this type of security banket worth it? Pile believes the investment is a wise one -- insurance for the Houston-area against a situation like the one in New York. “I think as a community, and as responsible civic leaders the NRG facility is wise,” Pile said Tuesday.
KPRC 2 Investigates: NRG’s roof that rarely opens
That’s a question some Texans fans are asking sarcastically after KPRC 2 Investigates told them the franchise hasn’t opened the roof at NRG Stadium for a game in more than five years. The last time fans and players got to see the sky from their seats at NRG Stadium was Nov. 30, 2014, according to team officials. The Indianapolis Colts opened their stadium roof 27 times since 2008, including eight games since 2015. KPRC 2 Investigates asked to see the button or computer system that controls the roof at NRG Stadium but officials denied the request citing security reasons. Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (Retractable)Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN (Image from Indianapolis Colts website) (KPRC)4.
What you need to know about the gerrymandering ruling's local impact
HOUSTON - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that redistricting in an attempt to get a particular party elected, isn't a court decision. The practice, known as gerrymandering, has been done in many states, including Texas. What does the Supreme Court decision mean for Texas? The court said in essence that disputes over redistricting or gerrymandering are political questions best left to Congress or state legislatures, not the courts. Texas redistricting is coming up in 2021.
Fourth of July festivities throughout Greater Houston
Parking passes are required for onsite parking and can be obtained at sugarlandtx.gov/july4 while supplies last. "To maximize on-site parking, we are offering an opportunity to reserve a free parking pass from the Imperial Park Recreation Center. Onsite event parking lots will open at 4 p.m. In addition to onsite parking, free shuttle service will be available at various off-site parking locations. Shuttles will run continuously from 4:30 p.m. to midnight from Mercer Stadium, located at 16403 Lexington Blvd, the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., and University of Houston Sugar Land, located at 14000 University Blvd.
Officials monitor forecast as Addicks/Barker reservoirs continue to release water to Buffalo Bayou
Stormwater from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs continues to flow into Buffalo Bayou, and people in the affected area are hoping the water keeps going down and out of their neighborhoods. On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Addicks Reservoir through Friday. A truck carried Park’s neighbor’s car safely out of their flooded neighborhood and up to dry ground. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the Army Corps of Engineers was closely watching the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs release rates that would alleviate flooding. NEIGHBORHOOD IMPACTSHarris County law enforcement officials are reporting water in some streets in the Bear Creek Village subdivision adjacent to Addicks Reservoir (near Clay Road).
Houston County emergency managers talk terrorist attack readiness ahead of Super Bowl LI
HOUSTON – Just one year before the Super Bowl lands in Houston, Harris County, emergency managers met in the Harris County Emergency Operations Center with Texas Senator John Cornyn. "Each Super Bowl is a little bit different,“ said County Judge Ed Emmett. Harris County Sheriff Ronald Hickman said many of the possible threats have changed since we last hosted the Super Bowl in Houston 12 years ago. As emergency managers prepare for security measures, construction managers downtown prepare for the game. They hope these new residents will support new businesses that dried up after the last Super Bowl here.