Houston (July 29, 2020) – Lone Star College has purchased an additional 5,000 laptop computers to assist students taking classes this fall.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the digital divide and the urgency with which we must work toward a solution,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “Lone Star College is committed to finding a solution that makes education accessible to all.”
LSC students will be able to check out the computers, much like a library book. Application for computers starts July 29 and distribution will begin before the start of the fall semester.
“Providing access to these computers and other resources is part of our promise and our effort to close this technology gap,” said Head.
To qualify for a computer, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) and enroll in a minimum of six credit hours for the fall 2020 semester. Students can keep the computer for future semesters as long as they stay enrolled at LSC.
It was January 24, 2018 at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Houston’s Fifth Ward. As a photojournalist for the North Channel Star, I got to meet Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. I was there covering the Criminal Justice Forum (CJF) spearheaded by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
The North Channel Star put on its front page my article and photos of Lewis and the CJF. You can still read the article by going to www.northchannelstar.com. (Search for “crime forum.”) Hundreds gathered at the church to hear Lewis’s speech. Here’s part of it:
“You must find a way to get in the way. You must find a way to get in trouble, good trouble, and necessary trouble.”
“I’ve been arrested about 50 times for getting into good trouble.”
“Use what you have to help make our country and make our world a better place, where no one will be left out or left behind… It is your time.”
After the event I made it a point to meet Lewis. I wanted to have a few words with him. As we shook hands and exchanged a few words, I told him he delivered a good speech. And I told him how I respected and admired him for his achievements and his relentless effort to make improvements in civil rights, voting rights and criminal justice reforms. I told him how I hoped my article would help his efforts; he thanked me. Before parting, I then told him I’d be praying for him, and he thanked me again.
Congressman Lewis served Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death Friday, July 17, 2020, at age 80. Known as a civil rights icon, he was one of the giants in the historic struggle for equal rights in America.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott announced that the grade promotion requirement related to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test for students in grades 5 and 8 has been waived for the upcoming school year. Typically, school systems must take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student can be promoted to the next grade level. The traditional A-F rating system will remain in place, albeit with certain adjustments due to COVID-19.
Typically, students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 are required to re-take a STAAR test late in the school year, and sometimes again in the summer, if they do not meet grade level when taken during the spring. With this waiver, there will only be one administration of the STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading assessments for the 2020–21 school year. The test will be administered in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3-8 assessments.
“As always, our goal is to provide a high quality education for every Texas student,” said Governor Abbott. “This will be a uniquely challenging school year, therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19. By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education — which we will continue to measure with high quality assessments.”
JULY 2020 –– Harris County Precinct 2 is working on the Aldine Mail Route road reconstruction between Slater Ln to Aldine Westfield with construction set to begin later this year.
Differential Response Team (DRT)
The DRT deputies are focusing on a community outreach approach (to businesses, residents and area organizations) to address community crime hotspots (cantinasibars, convenience stores, junk yards, apartments, game rooms and smoke shops), and other neighborhood nuisances. In June, DRT conducted 31 felony/adult misdemeanor arrests, issued 3 Felony/Misdemeanor warrants, 93 Citations, 209 reports, 27 Nuisance Abatement, 20 Nuisance Abatement Follow Up.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott issued a Proclamation extending the early voting period for the November 3rd Election by nearly a week. Under this proclamation, early voting by personal appearance will begin on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and continue through Friday, October 30, 2020. The proclamation also expands the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office, allowing such delivery prior to as well as on Election Day.
“As we respond to COVID-19, the State of Texas is focused on strategies that preserve Texans’ ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the virus,” said Governor Abbott. “By extending the early voting period and expanding the period in which mail-in ballots can be hand-delivered, Texans will have greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.”
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan reminds everyone to be aware of scams using the coronavirus to try to trick you out of your money or personal information.
Crooks are using the fear of COVID-19 as a way to defraud and steal from people via emails, texts, phone calls, and in one recent case, in person.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned recently about a scam where men get access to peoples’ homes by claiming to be city Public Works employees, saying that that their water lines had be poisoned with COVID19. KTRK-TV reported about a couple who lost an expensive watch and a ring to this scam. In addition to the fact that the virus does not exist in city water, Public Works employees will never ask to enter your home.
“It is unfortunate that bad people will use something like the coronavirus to commit crimes like this,” said County Attorney Ryan. “This couple not only lost precious possessions, they could have been seriously hurt.”
COVID-19 scams come in many forms—emails, texts or phone calls:
One Thing I Didn’t Expect About Motherhood: How much I would think about bodies. My body. My children’s bodies. The way they grow, stretch, scar and heal. Their softness and their strength. Through pregnancy, birth and recovery, I’ve become more forgiving toward my body, though it hasn’t always felt like mine. Its changes aren’t easy to accept, nor are the demands to share it so frequently. I marvel at my children, so awkward and elegant. Why are we drawn to embrace so often? Why does touch offer such comfort? I am not religious, but since becoming a mother, I have learned to worship. Our bodies are holy.
This piece was originally published in the New York Times in July 2020 as part of their “Modern Love: Tiny Love Stories” series. Reprinted with permission.
Kristan Hoffman is the daughter of this newspaper’s publishers, an author, and a columnist for this newspaper.