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Interacting with Police, Trade with China, and Spongebob: Houston Matters for Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014

Among the lessons learned from the developments of recent months in Ferguson, Mo., is the need for law enforcement and the community it serves to engage with one another. It’s a topic we explored on Houston Matters back in August. We discussed how, here in Houston, the Teen and Police Service or TAPS Academy seeks to connect at-risk teens with […]

Among the lessons learned from the developments of recent months in Ferguson, Mo., is the need for law enforcement and the community it serves to engage with one another. It’s a topic we explored on Houston Matters back in August. We discussed how, here in Houston, the Teen and Police Service or TAPS Academy seeks to connect at-risk teens with police officers to form positive relationships.

But the onus isn’t just on law enforcement to bridge potential divides — it’s up to the community at large as well. That’s why 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, a local chapter of a national mentoring and educational service organization, recently held a workshop designed to teach our young African American and Hispanic men how to safely interact with law enforcement.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we hear from Reco Caston, the President of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston about the workshop, called “My Brother’s Keeper — Keeping Our Boys Out of the Criminal Justice Pipeline.” Then we talk with Marlin Suell, Assistant Chief with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, about how law enforcement officials here hope we all respond when we’re stopped by police.

Also this hour: China is one of Houston’s top trading partners. According to World Institute for Strategic Economic Research data cited in an HSBC Group/Greater Houston Partnership report, in 2013, total exports and imports combined between Houston and China were around $13.4 billion. Houston Public Media business reporter Andrew Schneider will join us to discuss how trade and investments, a recent climate change deal between the U.S. and China, and lower oil prices all play into the economic impact China has on Greater Houston.

Then: A drug study being conducted at the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital may offer some hope slowing down brain cell deterioration in patients with mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s disease. We discuss the research with Nantz Medical Director Dr. Joseph Masdeu, and welcome your questions about caring for loved ones suffering from the disease for Rebecca Axline, an advanced practice social worker at the center.

Plus: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Yep, of course, SpongeBob SquarePants. But the voice behind SpongeBob — actor and comedian Tom Kenny — lives on land, and visited Galveston recently for the opening of Moody Gardens’ Ice Land exhibit, which features some 900 tons of ice sculptures – including a number of SpongeBob characters. Houston Matters’ Michael Mann catches up with Kenny to talk about his now 15 year long experience voicing the original absorbent, yellow, porous self-confessed goofy goober.

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