Archive for April, 2009

Choose Life License Plates
April 30, 2009

A few months ago,  2 on the Beat told you about Governor Rick Perry’s  support of the “choose life” license plates.

Many other states sell the personalized plates for vehicles, and a portion of the money from the sale of the specialty plates  benefits programs that promote adoption.

On Thursday,   Governor Perry issued a statement congratulating the Texas Senate for passing legislation authorizing creation of the  choose life plates. 

“Texans have long been able to support their causes in this way, so I’m glad they can do so now to assist pregnant women who are considering adoption as an alternative to abortion for their unborn children, ” said Governor Perry.

The legislation now moves to the Texas House.  If  it passes there, the Governor will likely sign  it as soon as it lands on his desk.

Go Rockets……………..
April 29, 2009

I spotted this great banner across from the Toyota Center – home of  Yao Ming, Shane Battier, and the rest of the Houston Rockets.

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Unless we want the banner to quickly be taken  down – the Rockets MUST WIN game six Thursday night  against the Portland Trailblazers.  

Go Rockets……

Swine Flu Update From Cibolo – Will The Numbers Increase?
April 28, 2009

For the past two days,  I’ve been  meeting and interviewing residents who are concerned about Swine Flu spreading in their communities. 

Schools remain shutdown.  Public parks are closed, and at least one area city library has locked its doors.

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The superintendent of the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City School District will  hold a news conference Tuesday morning.

She’s  expected to give an update on the test results for a dozen students who were tested after they began showing flu like symptoms.

As of  Monday night, three students attending different schools in the district have tested positive for swine flu. 

On a side note:

This is my first visit to Schertz and Cibolo.  As a native Texan, I’m ashamed to say I had to learn how to pronounce  Cibolo.

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I also learned that the town was named after the Native American word for buffalo.

People here are very friendly, and with its proximity to San Antonio and Austin, this is a great place to live without worrying about traffic and big city problems.

Covering The Swine Flu Scare
April 27, 2009

2 on the Beat has travelled South to Guadalupe County today to talk to people about   Swine Flu.

As you know, there are three confirmed and eleven suspected cases of  Swine Flu  in the Schertz-Cibolo area, which is near  San Antonio.

The schools are shut down for a week, to give custodians time to disinfect classrooms and change air filters.

When I arrived at the home of   Robin and Patrick Henshaw,  there was a news crew from KSAT TV  (Channel 2’s San Antonio sister station) interviewing them at the doorstep. 

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Everyone was wearing a face mask.

 The Health Department confirmed that Mr. Henshaw,  his  youngest daughter and son have swine flu.

The Henshaws told me that as a precaution, they offer every visitor to their home a face mask.  They no longer think they are  contagious, but they also insist that everyone clean their hands with Lysol or some other type of disinfectant before leaving the home.  The health department also advised that they stand three feet away from people.

My photographer James Perry and I went inside their home, rather than interview them at the door.

I’ll have the story on KPRC Local 2 News at 5 and 6.

Honoring The Late Barbara Jordan
April 25, 2009

She’s remembered as a Trailblazer, a  Role Model,  and a true Texan. 

Thirteen years after her death,  the  late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan  has reached another milestone:  She is the first woman to have a statue built in her honor on the campus of

The University of  Texas at Austin.

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2  on the Beat travelled to Austin on Friday, April 24, 2009,  to witness the historic unveiling of the bronze statue. 

 Dozens of   people  from Houston  also attended the ceremony:  Jordan’s sister Rose McGowan; Jordan’s former debate coach, Dr. Thomas Freeman of  Texas Southern University, along with Dr. Gloria Batiste-Roberts, who is the Assistant debate coach at TSU, and Brandon Griffin a debate team  member, and many of  her sorority sisters from Delta Sigma Theta,  who rode a bus from Houston to Austin. 

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  Friends and family say that with the likeness of Jordan standing with her hands on her hips, the statue really captures her  presence and personality.

 Jordan was the first African American woman elected to in the Texas Legislature, and in the  United States Congress. 

Jordan represented  Houston’s 18th congressional district. 

 After retiring from politics, she taught at UT’s  LBJ School of Public Affairs, until she died in 1996.

 

Raising Awarness About Cancer
April 25, 2009

On Thursday I had the honor of  being the mistress of  ceremonies  for the National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Luncheon.

It was a fantastic program that honored four outstanding people for their work to curb cancer and raise the overall health outlook for people of color.

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Dr. Lovell Jones is the director for Research on Minority Health at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and in 1986 he approached lawmakers about the idea of designating the third week in April as National Minority Cancer Awareness Week.  

As stated in the Congressional Record,   “While cancer effects men and women of  every age, race, ethnic background and economic class, the disease has a disproportionately severe impact on minorities and the  economically disadvantaged, ”

The honorees included Dr. Martha Hargraves of UTMB, Dr. Jason Mendoza of Baylor College of Medicine, Rebecca Lee, Ph.D, and Norma Olvera, Ph.D.

The guest speaker was  Dr. Renu Khator, who is the Chancellor of  the University of Houston System and the President of  the University of Houston.

Special thanks to Kelly Hodges who organized the fantastic event!

Should the City Enforce Immigration Policy?
April 21, 2009

Calling themselves “Pastores en Accion” a group of  flag waving and sign carrying local pastors and their followers gathered at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

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 They came to  pray for Mayor Bill White so that he would have “a change of   heart about  his plans to increase the immigration enforcement authority of the Houston Police Department.”

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They are upset that the Mayor has applied for what is called a 287 (g) grant through the Department of Homeland Security.

If approved, the city would use the funds to train about 20 – 25 personnel at the two Houston city jails,  on how to ask criminals about their immigration status.

The Pastors say this type of program has failed in other cities, and more importantly, they believe it will tear apart families and make immigrants more distrustful of the police.

Mayor White says that the policy, which would be consistent with the policy of   the Harris County Jails, would only target so called, “deportable  felons.”

The Mayor says he sought the change after illegal immigrants with extensive criminal backgrounds were involved in the shootings of two Houston police officers.

Houston FireFighters Wear Pink to Honor Victim
April 20, 2009

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Off duty and retired firefighters are honoring the memory of Leigh Boone.

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Boone was the 29 year old bicyclist who was crushed when a department ladder truck and pumper engine were  rushing  to the scene of what they believed was an emergency call.

Boone’s funeral was held Monday  afternoon at St. Martins Episcopal Church.  It was a service filled with both humor and heartache.

The firefighters are here on their own time to escort her casket and to form an honor wall around the casket.

They are also wearing pink ribbons over their badges in honor of Leigh. 

Friends say that Leigh loved the movie “Pretty in Pink” and that her favorite color was pink.

 After the service, a fire department bagpiper played as Leigh’s casket was carried out of the church one final  time. 

Meanwhile, I spoke with Houston attorney Jim Perdue who told me he as been retained by the Boone family. 

Purdue says no decision has been made about filing a lawsuit, he is simply helping the family stay on top of the crash investigations  being conducted by both the Harris County District Attorney’s office and the Houston Fire Department.

Rain Doesn’t Stop Political Rally
April 18, 2009

The threat of flooding and a tornado watch didn’t appear to dampen the spirits of the people who attended the Gene Locke for Mayor campaign rally Saturday morning.

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Good thing the  rally was held inside Minute Maid Park at Union Station, otherwise Locke would have been talking to more empty chairs than people.

The rally had a respectable turnout which included a lot of familiar faces,  community leaders, political types and grass roots organizers.

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Some of the big names throwing their endorsement behind Locke were:  Astros owner Drayton McLane, former Mayor Bob Lanier and his wife Port Commissioner Elyse Lanier, Constable Victor Trevino, Lobbyist Dwight Boykins, Rusty Hardin, former city council mayor pro-tem Gracie  Saenz, former Kemah Mayor Bill King, Pauline and Jr. Higgins, the Honorable John Peavy,  Artee Jones and a host of others.

City Councilman Ron Green and his wife Justice of the Peace Hillary Green were also at the  rally.  Green, who is running for city controller against Locke’s opponent  and current controller Annise Parker,  stressed that he is remaining neutral.

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2 on the Beat arrived late, but witnessed enough to make a few observations:

1. the sound system was terrible

2. Mr. Locke is probably an effective speaker in the boardroom, but he really needs to show some passion and enthusiasm in his campaign speeches.

This is Locke’s first time running for political office, and he faces City Controller Annise Parker (www.anniseparker.com) who is a well known to voters and is having no trouble winning endorsements and raising money, city councilman Peter Brown (www.peterbrownforhouston.com/)  also a formidable  challenger,  and Harris County Board of  Education  Trustee Roy Morales (www.roymorales.com )

Finally, I spotted Parker’s campaign manager Adam Harris at the Locke Rally. (opposition research!) He kindly reminded me that I need to take 2 on the beat and my camera to the next Parker campaign event!

The Houston International Festival
April 17, 2009

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It’s that time of  year again when downtown Houston is being transformed into a  fun place to check out the annual I-Fest, or International Festival. 

I-fest is scheduled for the weekends of April 18-19 and April 25-26. You can learn more about the entertainment lineup by going to www.ifest.org

This year, the event will spotlight the country of  Ireland, and organizers are busying creating what they call an “Irish Countryside.”

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On Thursday night, 2 on the Beat had the fun opportunity to attend the Mayor’s International Festival Gala, along with anchor Dominique Sachse (who also served as emcee)  producer Tracy Hatfield, Photographer Tyrina Gleinser, News Director Rick Mcfarland and General Manager Larry Blackerby and his wife Brenda. 

Channel 2 is a proud media sponsor of  I-fest. 

Dominque, Tracy and Ty recently spent ten days in Ireland and produced some amazing stories about the people, food and culture.

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Some of that Irish flavor was on display at the gala, which was attended by  dignitaries including Mayor Bill White, County Judge Ed Emmett and his wife Gwen, Sheriff  and Mrs. Adrian Garcia, city councilwoman Melissa Noriega and her husband former State Rep. Rick Noriega and Joanne King Herring. ifest-004ifest-003ifest

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