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High Speed Rail, Chemo Brain, and Tomato Republic: Houston Matters for Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

What’s the secret to community buy-in for a high-speed rail project? Location, location, location. Last spring, we spoke with former Harris County judge and Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels about his company’s effort to construct a privately funded bullet train between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Texas Central Railway first proposed the plan to build the rail […]

What’s the secret to community buy-in for a high-speed rail project? Location, location, location.

Last spring, we spoke with former Harris County judge and Texas Central Railway President Robert Eckels about his company’s effort to construct a privately funded bullet train between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Texas Central Railway first proposed the plan to build the rail line back in 2012. If successful, it would offer commuters a way to travel from Houston to Dallas in about 90 minutes.

Tonight at NRG Center, The Federal Railroad Administration and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will hold the last of six “public scoping” meetings. They’ll give a presentation, and then seek comments from the public about the project, as part of their preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. It’s a chance for Greater Houston residents to see how potential routes and station locations may affect them.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss the proposed routes, and the major concerns voiced by the public thus far. And we welcome your questions and comments for Houston Public Media transportation reporter Gail Delaughter.

Also this hour: A recent study from the Center for American Progress examines the relationship between expectations and achievement in education. We discuss that relationship with Dr. H. Jerome Freiberg. He’s a John & Rebecca Moores University Professor in the College of Education at the University of Houston, and the director and founder of Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline, a classroom instructional management program.

Then: Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy are familiar with potential side effects, including what’s commonly known as “chemo brain” – some struggle to concentrate, or have memory problems during a course of chemotherapy. There are treatments to mitigate such effects, but mostly, patients just have to live with it until their treatment is over. A new study here in Houston is looking into just how these drugs change cognitive functions in the brain. We learn more from Dr. Jack Byrne, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the UTHealth Medical School, and Dr. Sigmund Hsu, a cancer neurologist at UTHealth Medical School and the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann.

And: Houston-based filmmaker Jenna Jackson tells us about her documentary Tomato Republic, which explores last year’s race for mayor of her native Jacksonville, Texas. The documentary examines what happens to the East Texas city 30 miles south of Tyler during a hotly contested campaign featuring unusual candidates. Tomato Republic airs tonight at 10 on Houston Public Media TV 8.

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