Houston News

 AUSTIN – Texans for Education Opportunity Founder and Chair Stacy Hock today issued a statement following the Texas House’s rejection of House Bill 21, which would have supplied public schools with an additional $530 million in funding and established a school choice program for students with special needs.

“We are deeply saddened by the Texas House for systematically shutting the door on thousands of special needs students in dire need of education options today.

“House Bill 21 was smart, responsible legislation that would not only have dedicated half a billion dollars to our state’s education system, it would have empowered the parents of students with disabilities to select the education best fit for their child’s needs. We must trust that parents know what’s best for their child, and when we improve education options for even one student, our entire future gets brighter.

“By killing this legislation today, certain lawmakers in the Texas House have deliberately ignored the will of a vast majority of Texans who support school choice. While disappointed, we are not defeated. We want to thank Chairman Taylor and Lt. Gov. Patrick for their leadership on this important issue, and working together, we will not rest until Texas children get the education options they deserve.”


UT Physicians Community Health &Wellness Center – Rosenberg, the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), celebrated the grand opening of the newest health center at 5115 Avenue H, Suite 701 with a ribbon cutting. UT Physicians staff, Central Fort Bend Chamber representatives, elected officials and over 350 guest enjoyed tours of the new facility; fun activities for the attendees; free health screenings; including a meet and greet with the Rosenberg Fire and Police Department.

Fort Bend County residents will now be able to receive high-quality primary care and medical screenings at the multispecialty center. The clinic offers primary care for children, adolescents and adults. Specialists include a family practitioner, pediatrician, psychiatrist and urogynecologist.  Andrew Casas, vice president and chief operating officer of UT Physicians, welcomed the large crowd and spoke about UT Physicians’ mission, “Providing exceptional health care close to home is one of the missions of UT Physicians,” Casas said. “UT Physicians is looking forward to providing excellent, comprehensive care that people can count on in their neighborhood.”

UT Physicians brings to Rosenberg the world renowned care of the Texas Medical Center and has partnered with Community Health Choice whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of underserved residents of Southeast Texas by opening doors to coordinated, high-quality, affordable health care and health-related social services. The new facility will have a dedicated space for wellness education programs, including a food demonstration kitchen where they will be teaching diabetes awareness and Zumba classes for the exercise enthusiasts.


For more information on UT Physicians Health and Wellness Center, visit https://www.utphysicians.com/chwc-rosenberg or call (713) 486-1950.


The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit www.CFBCA.org.


Attached Photos:

  1. IMG 1949 Left to Right Front Row

Andrew Casas, UT Physicians; Dr. Thomas Murphy, UT Physicians; Carmen Lawrence, UT Physicians; Tom Wilson; Dr. Kevin Hwang, UT Physicians; Kenneth Janda, Community Health Choice; Karen Love, Community Health Choice; Cynthia McConathy, Mayor, City of Rosenberg; Dr. Johneca Broussard, UT Physicians; Dr. Kairav Shah, UT Physicians; Rose Pickens, Attack Poverty; Dr. Sevahn Carril, UT Physicians; Griselda Zacek, UT Physicians; Jernae Bijou, UT Physicians; Brenda Ramagnoli, UT Physicians; Victor Garcia, UT Physicians; Amanda Barta, Council Member City of Rosenberg

  1. IMG 1847 Left to Right

Dr. Thomas Murphy; UT Physicians; Karen Love, Community Health Choice; Kenneth Janda, Community Health Choice; Andrew Casas, UT Physicians

  1. IMG 1959 Left to Right

Cynthia McConathy, Mayor City of Rosenberg; Dr. Johneca Broussard, UT Physicians; Andrew Casas, UT Physicians

  1. IMG 1968 Left to Right

Twana Wilson, UT Physicians; Johnathan Gray, UT Physicians; Cynthia McConathy, Mayor, City of Rosenberg; Esmeralda Melton, UT Health Center

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To Whom It May Concern:

We are requesting the public’s assistance in locating next of kin for the following deceased individuals. We would appreciate your publishing of a brief notice in the next few days in the hopes that family or friends may see the information and contact this office.


Sharon M. Derrick, PhD
Identification Manager
Forensic Anthropologist

The information is as follows:

JUAN MARTINEZ – Hispanic Male, 48 Years: Mr. Martinez died in the 8500 block of Airline Dr. in Houston, Texas on 03/02/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-0828.

PAMELA D. MOORE – White Female, 58 Years: Ms. Moore died in the 11000 block of Panicum Ct. in Houston, Texas on 03/09/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-0916.

CLEMENTE CORDOBA-LARA – Hispanic Male, 64 Years: Mr. Cordoba-Lara died in the 7500 block of Cook Road in Houston, Texas on 04/19/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-1429.

MICHAEL ANTHONY TORRES – Hispanic Male, 46 Years: Mr. Torres died at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, Texas on 04/22/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-1474.

MELVIN DAVIS – Black Male, 28 Years: Mr. Davis died at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital in Houston, Texas on 04/26/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-1529.

RICHARD SANDOVAL – Hispanic Male, 58 Years: Mr. Sandoval died in the 5400 block of Bellaire Street in Houston, Texas on 05/09/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-1714.

CORY WILLIAM VAN BEMEN – White Male, 45 Years: Mr. Van Bemen died at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, Texas on 05/11/2017. Please call the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences at 832-927-5000 and refer to case ML17-1748.

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HOUSTON—The executive board of the Houston Federation of Teachers voted to support the school improvement plan proposed by Superintendent Richard Carranza and recommends passage by the district’s board of trustees.

“We are concerned that educators will view Achieve 180 as Apollo 2.0, and we believe that would be a mistake,” said HFT President Zeph Capo. “There are several differences with Achieve 180, not the least of which is the fact that it will not result in the massive school disruptions brought about by the Apollo program.”

Capo said the Achieve 180 plan is smart public policy for students that will provide experienced teachers and wraparound services to help remove barriers to learning. This plan is also smart policy for taxpayers, he said. Coordinating services for students both creates efficiencies in delivery and leverages tax dollars with partner agency funds so schools can do more with less. “It seems under this plan that HISD will avoid the extremely high hidden cost overruns by being strategic with staffing decisions,” Capo said. “Wholesale reconstitution of schools is not only disruptive, but very expensive.”

While the HFT supports this plan, it recognizes that the real work is in the implementation. Several areas have been identified that need additional discussion, such as increased inclusion of our support staff and recognition of their important work supporting students, increasing teacher voice and ensuring that any additional collaborative time is focused on the instructional improvement needs identified by the teachers themselves.


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Texas coastal communities are urged to prepare now

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is urging coastal communities and policyholders to make preparations now to protect themselves, their families, and their property in advance of hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Coastal citizens are encouraged to prepare for hurricane season by:

  • Reviewing home insurance coverage, ensuring both windstorm and flood coverage are secured
  • Taking an inventory of property every year. Consider recording a video “tour” of important belongings. Keep all property records in a safe location away from the home.
  • Creating an emergency plan that includes evacuation routes and important contact information
  • Building an emergency supplies kit that covers family and pets
  • Preparing the home to prevent damage (ex: trim trees, install roof straps, reinforce garage doors)
  • Ensuring existing or ongoing qualifying home improvements have a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8 / WPI-8-C) to maintain TWIA coverage eligibility
  • Visiting twia.org/stormcenter for additional preparedness tips

Each year TWIA helps its policyholders and coastal communities get ready for hurricane season by sharing preparedness information online, to coastal elementary schools, and through preparedness advertising.

The TWIA Storm Center, available online at twia.org/stormcenter, provides information on how to prepare for hurricanes and severe weather, how to maintain eligibility for TWIA insurance coverage, and how to recover after a storm. Topics cover coastal building codes, home improvements that can reduce property damage from a storm, how to file a claim with TWIA, and steps to prioritize personal safety after a storm.

TWIA’s Hurricane Preparedness campaign also focuses on educating elementary school children who live in coastal communities. TWIA first distributed its educational materials to schools in 1993. This year’s Hurricane Preparedness Teacher Toolkit consists of the webpage twia.org/teachers and printed teaching packets that include preparedness activities for third and fourth grade classrooms, take-home materials for families, and a contest for students. This year, TWIA distributed 2,700 teaching packets to 300 elementary schools on the Texas Gulf Coast.

For more information about TWIA, visit twia.org. For more information on TWIA’s hurricane preparedness efforts, visit twia.org/stormcenter.


TWIA: https://www.twia.org/

TWIA Storm Center: https://www.twia.org/stormcenter/

Hurricane Preparedness Teacher Toolkit webpage: https://www.twia.org/stormcenter/safetysquad/

Hurricane Preparedness Teacher Toolkit activity packets: https://www.twia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2017_TWIA_HurricaneActivities_FINAL.pdf



AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will join law enforcement efforts across the state during the Memorial Day weekend to help keep Texas roadways safe. From Friday, May 26, through Monday, May 29, DPS Troopers will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, and drivers violating speed limit, seat belt and other traffic laws.

“As we honor those who gave their lives to protect and serve our country, we are asking all drivers to help us prevent senseless tragedies on the roadways this holiday weekend,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drive sober, wear your seat belt, slow down, obey traffic laws and use extra caution when you get behind the wheel this weekend. DPS and other law enforcement will do our part by watching for drivers who are violating the law and endangering the lives of other travelers.”

During the Memorial Day holiday weekend last year, DPS Troopers issued more than 45,000 tickets and warnings, including 836 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 386 DWI arrests, 190 fugitive arrests and 175 felony arrests.

DPS also supports the state’s “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign, which runs through June 4, to encourage drivers and passengers to comply with state seat belt laws.

Drivers can take a variety of measures to enhance safety on our roads this Memorial Day weekend, including:

  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law. In other words, “Click It or Ticket.”
  • Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double-check to make sure all cargo is secure.
  • Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
  • Monitor weather conditions wherever you are traveling.  In the event of inclement weather, use extra caution on roadways, and never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways. For more safety tips related to severe storms, visit: http://dps.texas.gov/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_severe.htm.

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The Texas Center for the Book is seeking non-profit organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in Texas, qualifying organizations must be nominated by September 1, 2017.

The winning organization will receive a $1,000 cash award to assist in its future work promoting reading and combating illiteracy. This year, a honorable mention recipient will receive a $500 cash award. These awards provide public recognition to 501(c)(3) organizations committed to addressing the continuing need for literacy services and that increase public awareness of the importance of literacy. The 2017 Literacy Award winner will be announced during the 2nd Annual Texas Author Summit at the Texas Book Festival on Nov. 2, 2017.

Non-profit organizations whose primary purpose is to support and encourage literacy are eligible for the 2017 Literacy Award. Organizations may self-nominate for the award, or nominate partner non-profit organizations.

While this award promotes partnerships with libraries, please note that library friends organizations, public, school and academic libraries or other library entities are not eligible for nomination. These entities are highly encouraged to nominate literacy organizations within their local and/or regional communities.

Nomination forms must include one letter of reference and a statement of 500 words or less on the nominated program’s value and impact. Nominators are strongly encouraged to include examples of the nominated organization’s partnerships with libraries.

For more information on submitting a nomination, please visit the Texas Center for the Book’s website at www.tsl.texas.gov/literacyaward.

Nominated organizations are encouraged, but not required, to produce a two-minute video that highlights the impact of the nominated programming.

All nomination forms become the property of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and may be used in whole or in part as informational or educational materials. The winning organization must provide documentation proving 501(c)(3) status. Inspired by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards, funding is made possible by The Friends of the Libraries and Archives of Texas.

For more information, contact Rebekah Manley, Texas Center for the Book Coordinator, Texas State Library and Archives Commission at rmanley@tsl.texas.gov or 512-936-2505.


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Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a 10-state coalition in sending a letter to President Trump, urging withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. The letter states that the Paris agreement, adopted in December 2015, stands as a symbol of the Obama era “Washington knows best” approach to governing.

“Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is an important and necessary step toward reversing the job-destroying energy policies and unlawful overreach of the Obama era.” Attorney General Paxton wrote.

The states argue the so-called Clean Power Plan was the linchpin of the United States’ involvement in the Paris agreement, and President Trump’s decision to dismantle the Power Plan demonstrates the need to withdraw. They also applaud the steps already taken to return regulatory power to the states and urge the continuation of this change in policy, which many Americans support.

Texas signed this letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin



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Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Baylor College of Medicine will receive $2 million from a settlement reached by Texas with Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Baylor College of Medicine will use the $2 million for funding related to innovative pediatric neurological research projects.

In January, Texas, the Federal Trade Commission and four other state attorneys general resolved a lawsuit against Questcor alleging it monopolized the market for Acthar, the only adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-based therapeutic drug sold in the United States. Acthar is used to treat several diseases, including infantile spasms, a disease in which infants suffer from epileptic seizures that can result in severe injury or death. Questcor blocked competition for Acthar by acquiring the U.S. rights for Synacthen Depot, the only other ACTH-based drug sold in the world. Questcor also increased the price of the drug by 85,000 percent, charging over $34,000 for a vial of the drug that used to cost $40 per vial.

The research that demonstrated Acthar was an effective treatment for infantile spasms was conducted by a team lead by Richard Hrachovy at Baylor College of Medicine in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Baylor College of Medicine has long been a leader in researching treatments for children with neurological problems,” said Attorney General Paxton. “We are pleased that this lawsuit and settlement will allow Baylor to continue its critical research.”

In addition to paying disgorgement, Questcor must transfer Synacthen to a firm that will have the incentive to develop and market the drug in the U.S.

Texas was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Maryland, New York and Washington in entering into this settlement.

To view the settlement complaint click here.

To view the stipulated order click here.


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Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that Texas will receive more than $2.2 million in a $33 million, 43-state settlement with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. The settlement resolves allegations that a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson sold various over-the-counter drugs to consumers, even though some manufacturing facilities did not comply with federal standards.

From 2009 to 2011, alleged quality control lapses by McNeil-PPC, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, resulted in recalls of many over-the-counter drugs for adults and children, including such brands as Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, St. Joseph Aspirin, Sudafed, Pepcid, Mylanta, Rolaids, and Zyrtec.

Texas and Pennsylvania led the way on the settlement and worked alongside the attorneys general from Arizona, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, and Ohio on an executive committee.