Archive for November, 2008

Statewide HIV Testing Proposed
November 30, 2008


Monday, December  1, 2008 is World AIDS Day.

This is the 20th year that people who are fighting the disease on a personal level, will join with those who are fighting for more funding and awareness to eradicate this serious threat to public health.

State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) will mark the day by calling for a Statewide HIV Testing Initiative. 

According to a notice from his office, Senator Ellis plans to file legislation to make HIV testing routine in accordance with the 2006 Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

2 on the Beat isn’t sure if  the proposal will call for mandatory testing. 

In 2006, Senator Ellis successfully co-sponsored a bill that called for mandatory HIV testing for all TDCJ inmates before they were released from prison.

We’ll have to wait and see what Senator Ellis outlines during his news conference on Monday.

Update from on Mrs. Bush’ Surgeon
November 26, 2008

Dr. Pat Reardon

Dr. Pat Reardon

Dr. Pat Reardon performed surgery last night on Former First Lady Barbara Bush.
He says she had a potentially life threatening condition – a very painful perforated ulcer – a pain that Mrs. Bush described as “worse than childbirth.”
He says the ulcer was likely brought on by NSAIDS that the former first lady was taking. An ulcer is one of the side effects of the medication.
Mrs. Bush will remain in the hospital for at least a week. She can’t eat solid food. There goes the Thanksgiving turkey and dressing.
According to Dr. Reardon, Mrs. Bush in in “very good spirits. her vital signs are good. her condition is stable and she is awake and alert.”
The former first lady will be in ICU for at least another 24 hours, which is not unexpected after a major surgery.

Send an “E-Greeting” to Barbara Bush
November 26, 2008

Methodist Hospital has announced that anyone who wants to send get well wishes to Ms. Bush can log on to and then click on “send an e-greeting.”

I imagine the Bush family members and friends are sending sincere words of comfort and pretty flower arrangements to brighten up  Mrs. Bush hospital room.

A Methodist spokeswoman told me that former President George H.W. Bush is at his wife’s bedside, but so far we haven’t seen any sign of him.

Methodist Hospital has promised  2 on the Beat an opportunity to interview the physician who performed surgery on Former First Lady Barbara Bush.

As we have reported, Mrs. Bush will have to remain in the hospital another week after undergoing laparoscopic surgery for a perforated ulcer.

I’ll have a full report on KPRC Local 2 News starting at 4 p.m.

And, as you can imagine as the former first lady recovers from surgery, national and local members of the media are camped out at the Texas Medical Center waiting for any update on her condition.

Former First Lady to Remain In Hospital
November 26, 2008

Methodist Hospital has released an update on former First Lady Barbara Bush. (see statement below)

Her condition appears to be more serious than first reported.  In the meantime, if you would like to send any get well wishes to the former first lady you can follow this link: and click on “send an e-greeting”

Former First Lady Barbara Bush was admitted to The Methodist Hospital in HoustonTuesday with abdominal pains.  As a result, she underwent routine, laparoscopic surgery Tuesday night to correct a perforated ulcer. She was resting comfortably Wednesday morning, and visiting with her family.

 During the procedure last night, surgeons cleansed her abdominal area, then patched and closed a one-centimeter hole in Mrs. Bush’s stomach, caused by the ulcer.  

Mrs. Bush is expected to be discharged from the hospital next week. 

Any further questions should be directed to the Office of George Bush.

Mayor White for Secretary of Energy?
November 25, 2008

2 on the Beat has been wondering if there would be any Texans tapped to serve in President-Elect Barack Obama’s administration.


A blog reader sent me an email letting me know that someone has created a Face Book page dedicated to promoting Mayor Bill White for Secretary of Energy.

As the Mayor’s supporters have noted, he “brings a wealth of experience, and showed really strong leadership during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.”

During the primary election, the Mayor also met with then Senator Obama to talk about energy issues.

Some other positives that 2 on the Beat can think of: Mayor White served as assistant secretary of energy under President Bill Clinton, he drives a hybrid, has converted some of the city’s fleet to hybrid vehicles, installed solar panels on some city buildings, has challenged the big refineries to reduce dangerous emissions to protect families, he believes in green building and promotes other innovative ways to protect the environment.

The Face Book page has fewer than 80 pledged members, but don’t let that stop you from joining the momentum.

Bad Air Quality Hangs a Cloud Over UTMB
November 24, 2008

Hurricane Ike, employee layoffs and now – unacceptable air quality.

What else can UTMB-Galveston confront as it struggles to get back on track?

UTMB released the following statement on Monday:

In the interest of patient safety, UTMB today has temporarily suspended further inpatient admissions and surgeries because air cultures in four of six operating rooms showed unacceptable air quality.  Patients who have been admitted to the hospital this morning will be allowed to remain as inpatients, but further inpatient admissions, except for obstetrics and newborns, will be suspended until conditions improve, perhaps as soon as next week.


Meanwhile, 2 on the Beat spent the day talking with some of the new patients, doctors and nurses at UTMB who were really excited about the hospital opening more beds.

Joann McCorkle was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning to improve her breathing, but that procedure is being postponed because of the problems with air quality in the operating rooms.


An Early Thanksgiving
November 22, 2008

Several Houston families have another reason to feel thankful as the Holiday season approaches.

On Saturday, State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-15) distributed free turkeys to about 50 families living in Fifth Ward to celebrate the spirit of community and Thanksgiving.



For most of the families, getting a free turkey, was one of the few bright moments in their day.

Many of them are still trying to put their lives back together after Hurricane Ike.

Others are coping with job layoffs, home foreclosures and other painful aspects of the economy.

2 on the Beat met Betty Johnson as she was receiving her turkey from Senator Ellis.

A thrilled Johnson say she is a single parent who is still trying to recover from the hurricane. 

Johnson says the turkey means there will be food on her family’s  table this Thanksgiving, thanks to the generosity of Senator Ellis.

A Salute to Ron Stone
November 21, 2008

On Thursday night members of the local media joined notable members of the community to remember the life of former Channel 2 anchor Ron Stone.

The event raised money to award college scholarships to graduate students of Texas History, and to promote school children’s visits to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site.


Governor Rick Perry and Former Governor Mark White accepted the Ron Stone Texas Legacy Award. (other winners included Governor William P. Clements and President George W. Bush who did not attend the dinner)

KPRC-Local 2 was a proud supporter of the Ron Stone dinner and many of his former colleagues and friends were in attendance: Dominique Sachse, Jerome Gray, Wendy Corona, Phil Archer, and Bill Balleza.


Stone was also respected and loved by many Channel 2 folks who work behind the scenes: Producers Pat Schwab, Amy Calvin, Tracy Hatfield, Stephanie Jeandheur, Barbara Lowndes and photographers Glen Garcia, Joe Campos,  and Steve Long.


2 on the Beat never worked with Ron Stone, but I did work with his son Ron Jr., who inherited his father’s quick wit and talent for writing.


Texas Loses a Political Legend
November 20, 2008

Either you loved him or didn’t, but former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox ALWAYS left an impression.

2 on the Beat is saddened to hear that the political legend died in his sleep Thursday morning.

He was 65.

He will be remembered for many controversial moments during his life and career. (including a very, very bitter run for governor against the late Ann Richards)

Nicknamed “Mad Dog Mattox” some thought he was a bully, others thought he used his bully pulpit to fight for the little people.

In a statement released by the Texas Democratic Party a short time ago, Chairman Boyd Richie remembered Mattox this way:

“A tough public servent, Jim’s life was spent working for the interests of all Texans.  His legacy of service and dedication to our great state will endure, and he will be dearly missed.”

May God Bless Jim Mattox.

Allegations of Police Brutality
November 20, 2008

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt says HPD internal affairs is now investigating allegations that two Houston Police officers allegedly beat and drugged the father of  Green Bay Packers pro-bowl wide receiver Donald Driver.

On Thursday investigators interviewed Marvin Driver Jr. who has been upgraded to good condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

According to the family , Driver had just finished moving furniture shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, when police took him into custody for outstanding warrants. 

Witnesses claim that the officers were aggressive, and after they drove off with Driver, they beat him up and forced him to take something that would “make him see Jesus” according to the note that Driver wrote on a napkin and gave to his family members.

Chief Hurtt says he is waiting for the final report before making a decision about the allegations, and the future of the two officers involved in the incident.

The officers remain on active duty.

Media Stake Out 

Meanwhile 2 on the Beat  was staked out with other photographers and reporters at the hospital Thursday waiting for the NFL star to talk about his dad.

Donald Driver gave us the slip, he managed to leave the hospital and catch a private plane back to Milwaukee.