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Oil Spill Latest, Mental Health, & the Literary Scene: Houston Matters for Monday, March 24, 2014

On Saturday, a barge in Galveston Bay struck a ship and sprung a leak. While the barge was carrying a million gallons of marine fuel oil, officials believe just one tank was breached, which would suggest no more than 168,000 gallons spilled into the bay. As crews skimmed oil from the water, and containment booms […]

Image Courtesy: Houston Chronicle

On Saturday, a barge in Galveston Bay struck a ship and sprung a leak. While the barge was carrying a million gallons of marine fuel oil, officials believe just one tank was breached, which would suggest no more than 168,000 gallons spilled into the bay. As crews skimmed oil from the water, and containment booms were deployed, the Houston ship channel was closed between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula.

The spill occurs on the anniversary of another: 25 years ago, on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez struck a reef off the coast of Alaska, and caused what was – at the time – the largest U.S. oil spill in history.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss this weekend’s spill, and its impact on industry, tourism, and wildlife along the Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. We’ll also talk about the history of Gulf Coast oil spills, and remember the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Also this hour: We discuss challenges mental health professionals face in Houston, with Dr. Asim Shah, Chief of Psychiatry at Harris Health System and Ben Taub Hospital, and Alice Brink, Board Vice President, of the National Alliance on Mental Health for Greater Houston. We also hear from a Houstonian who has struggled with mental illness throughout her adult life, and today serves as a mental health volunteer.

And: we discuss writers and writing in Houston. Some see H-town as an up-and-coming place when it comes to generating good literature. The University of Houston’s MFA program in creative writing is one of the most prestigious in the country. We’ll discuss the literary scene here, and what role Houston may play in the future of American literature.

Plus: The Rockets rebound, the Texans sign one QB and send another packing, and we discuss the fates of Texas teams in the NCAA tourney, as CultureMap Houston sports columnist MK Bower joins us.

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