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Posts published in “Day: August 3, 2021

County returns COVID-19 threat level to Orange; urges mask wearing

HARRIS COUNTY – Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she was increasing the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level, to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second-highest threat level due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Threat level 2 indicates a significant and “uncontrolled level” of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning that there is ongoing transmission of the virus, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.

At this level, county officials, urge unvaccinated residents to minimize contact with others, avoid any medium or large gatherings, and visit only permissible businesses that follow public health guidance.

Hidalgo blamed the Delta variant and flattening vaccination rates for the increase in infections.

Over the past few weeks the region has been hit hard by the arrival of the Delta variant, Hidalgo said during the briefing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that the Delta variant accounts for an estimated 83 percent of new coronavirus cases in the United States. As for the region Texas is a part of, as of July 17, the variant comprises 84 percent of new coronavirus cases, Hidalgo noted.

Hidalgo also noted that the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is doubling every 2.3 weeks, faster than at any point during the third wave of the disease in December.

“It’s not too late,” Hidalgo said. “But if we don’t act now, it will be too late for many people.”

Hidalgo also said “everybody” should resume wearing masks to protect those that aren’t vaccinated. Currently, around 2.1 million Harris County residents, 44.1 percent of Harris County’s total population, are fully vaccinated, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.

Dems remain in DC, seek federal help

WASHINGTON — State Rep. Senfronia Thompson testified to a U.S. House committee last week, and among her colorful testimony, she said: “You’re damn right I left Texas, and I’m glad I did,” Thompson said. “I left Texas to give my people a right to be able to vote without them being infringed upon.”

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 50 Texas Democratic legislators remain holed up in a Washington, D.C. hotel, blocking an effort by Republicans to pass more restrictive voting laws during the present special session since state law requires at least 100 reps to have a quorum.

The legislators have been meeting with national Democratic leaders, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, but also dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 among its members. At least a half dozen legislators, who say they were already vaccinated, have tested positive for the virus while in the nation’s capital.

The legislators are pushing for federal voting legislation, called the For the People Act, which has already passed the U.S. House but remains bottled up in the Senate. Without changes to the Senate filibuster rule, passage seems unlikely. The special session in Austin ends Aug. 7, but Abbott has vowed to call another one if the Democrats remain absent, effectively stopping any legislation from passing.

“Mr. Aldine,” W.W. Thorne passes away

W.W. THORNE

W.W. “Bill” Thorne, who saved Aldine ISD from bankruptcy in the late 1950s and was affectionally known as “Mr. Aldine,” has passed away.

Mr. Thorne, 98, served as Aldine ISD’s Superintendent from 1958-73, and remained active in a number of other educational and community endeavors long after he retired as Aldine ISD’s superintendent.

Mr. Thorne is survived by his wife Iris, a long-time AISD employee in the business office, son Bill Jr., daughter Anita and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In the spring of 1958, AISD was unable to pay its teachers as many walked off the job and the district faced bankruptcy. Students also left for Houston ISD or an early summer vacation. Mr. Thorne and a local lawmaker went to Austin to secure an emergency sale of $200,000 time warrants. It is said that this was the fastest the Texas Legislature had ever acted on a piece of legislation. Mr. Thorne remembered the process was completed within a day and was completed when the Governor signed off on the time warrants.

Mr. Thorne’s fast action saved Aldine from bankruptcy, and as they say, the rest is history. Today, Aldine is one of the largest school districts in the state of Texas, nationally recognized for the work it does educating economically disadvantaged students, for its nationally renowned performing and visual arts programs and its innovative teaching concepts.

Sales Tax Holiday is Aug. 6-8

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is reminding shoppers they can save money on clothes and school supplies during the state’s sales tax holiday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6-8.

State law exempts sales tax on qualified items — such as clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks — priced below $100, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. The date of the sales tax holiday and list of tax-exempt items are set by the Texas Legislature.

“For many families with children who are going back to their school campuses for the first time since the pandemic began, the sales tax holiday is the perfect opportunity to save money on school supplies and other tax-free items,” Hegar said. “As a father with three school-aged children myself, I know how these expenses can add up.”

Apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free are listed on the Comptroller’s website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.