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Posts published in “Day: August 10, 2021

County returns COVID threat level to RED

Delta Variant fills Hospitals

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo raised the COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon, as the COVID-19 delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region’s hospital resources over the past month.

It’s the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020.

The new advisory indicates that severe and uncontrolled outbreaks are present in the community and worsening, and that the public health capacity in the region is strained or exceeded, Hidalgo said.

“It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety in so many families in Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

The county judge called the latest surge a “perfect storm” of strained staff, a more transmissible virus, and the limited ability for local leaders to implement public health policies after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders preventing such measures.

Hidalgo urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one, or else avoid “all but the most essential interactions.” She also recommended both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear masks, and told the public to use ERs for life-threatening emergencies only.

Abbott calls Second Special Session of the Legislature

Democrats remain away in DC

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation announcing that he will convene a second special legislative session at 12:00 p.m. on August 7, 2021. The proclamation identifies 17 agenda items for the second Special Session.

“The Texas Legislature achieved a great deal during the 87th Legislative Session, and they have a responsibility to finish the work that was started,” said Governor Abbott. “I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve. Passing these Special Session agenda items will chart a course towards a stronger and brighter future for the Lone Star State.” Agenda items for the second Special Session will include:

BAIL REFORM: Legislation reforming the bail system in Texas to protect the public from accused criminals who may be released on bail.

ELECTION INTEGRITY: Legislation strengthening the integrity of elections in Texas.

FEDERAL RELIEF APPROPRIATIONS: Legislation providing appropriations from unappropriated available revenues for COVID-19- related healthcare expenses, such as those listed below, taking into consideration the approximately $10.5 billion in funds received by local governments intended to be used on COVID-19 from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021(ARPA), Pub. L. No. 117-2:

–healthcare staffing needs, including physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals;

–establishing, staffing, and operating alternative care sites;

–supporting the operations of nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities;

–vaccine administration;

–testing sites;

–supplies and equipment, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators; and

–standing up and operating infusion centers.

EDUCATION: Legislation providing strategies for public-school education in prekindergarten through twelfth grade during the COVID-19 pandemic, which ensures:

–students receive a high-quality education and progress in their learning;

–in-person learning is available for any student whose parent wants it;

–the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory; and

–COVID-19 vaccinations are always voluntary.

BORDER SECURITY: Legislation enhancing criminal laws or providing funding from unappropriated available revenues to support law enforcement agencies, counties, and other strategies as part of Texas’ comprehensive border security plan.

SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP: Legislation safeguarding the freedom of speech by protecting social-media and email users from being censored based on the user’s expressed viewpoints, including by providing a legal remedy for those wrongfully excluded from a platform.

ARTICLE X FUNDING: Legislation providing appropriations from unappropriated available revenues to the Legislature and legislative agencies in Article X of the General Appropriations Act.

FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 1109 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, requiring schools to provide appropriate education to middle- and high-school students about dating violence, domestic violence, and child abuse, but that recognizes the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction.

YOUTH SPORTS: Legislation identical to Senate Bill 29 as passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, disallowing a student from competing in University Interscholastic League athletic competitions designated for the sex opposite to the student’s sex at birth.

ABORTION-INDUCING DRUGS: Legislation similar to Senate Bill 394 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, which prohibits people from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, strengthens the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications, and ensures that no abortion-inducing drugs arc provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.

THIRTEENTH CHECK: Legislation similar to House Bill 3507 from the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to a “thirteenth check” or one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: Legislation similar to House Bill 3979 concerning critical race theory as originally passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature, Regular Session.

APPROPRIATIONS: Legislation providing appropriations from unappropriated available revenues for the following purposes: property-tax relief; enhanced protection for the safety of children in Texas’ foster-care system by attracting and retaining private providers for the system; and to better safeguard the state from potential cybersecurity threats.

PRIMARY ELECTIONS: Legislation modifying the filing periods and related election dates, including any runoffs, for primary elections held in Texas in 2022.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE: Legislation reforming the laws governing radioactive waste to protect the safety of Texans, including by further limiting the ability to store and transport high-level radioactive materials in this state.

EMPLOYMENT: Legislation shielding private employers and employees from political subdivision rules, regulations, ordinances, and other actions that require any terms of employment that exceed or conflict with federal or state law relating to any form of employment leave, hiring practices, employment benefits, or scheduling practices.

STATE LEGISLATURE: Legislation relating to legislative quorum requirements.

Latin Jazz Concerts give amphitheater a swinging start

Photo Roan Matthews

EAST ALDINE – Two July jazz concerts marked the grand opening of the amphitheater at the East Aldine Management District’s expanded Town Center, where the musicians and the hundreds of people in the public audiences inspired each other.

Before internationally known trumpeter Ray Vega improvised his solos on stage on the night of July 17, some in the audience had improvised their set-ups with camp chairs, beach shelters and blankets in a fusion of family gatherings and picnic suppers on the facility’s smooth lawn.

Vega, special guest trombonist Andre Hayward and Caliente, a large ensemble band of teens from the Diaz Music Institute, definitely put some swing in their performances. At the same time, children swung on playground swings and danced in the nearby splash pad.

As the summer sun ducked behind clouds, the heat gave way to a cool breeze and the crowds settled into a rhythm matching the excitement as East Aldine residents got a taste of how the amphitheater will be used for free, family-oriented events.

“Live Jazz” coming to Houston’s Eastside

Houston – One of Houston’s musical treasures, Saxophonist Kyle Turner will be performing “live” at R&K Barbecue and Reception Hall, 911 Normandy St. 77015 on Sunday, August 15th, 2021 from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets are available at http://kyleturnerlive.eventbrite.com.

Since the 1990’s, Kyle Turner has been performing on a regular basis and draws enthusiastic audiences regionally and nationally. Kyle’s musical range is vast and he describes himself as a musician that loves playing all types of music. Kyle’s musical career has afforded him the opportunity to share the stage with musical greats: Luther Vandross, Regina Belle, Joe Sample, Bobby Lyle, Al Jarreau, Will Downing, Ronnie Laws, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Terence Blanchard, Eddie Levert and Kirk Whalum to name a few.