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Early Voting for Harris County Flood Control District Bond Election Begins Wednesday, DACA Hearing Focuses on Judge’s Prior Ruling, And More

What we’re following at Houston Public Media today

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

Check locations and hours for early voting on Harris County Flood Control Bond Election

Early voting for the Harris County Flood Control District Bond Election started Wednesday and will end Tuesday, August 21.

Overall, 45 locations will be available to Harris County registered voters during early voting.

Voters may view the proposed project list to make Harris County more resilient from flooding at

There is a detailed early voting schedule at


Elizabeth Trovall | Houston Public Media
Currently, there are approximately 700,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.

DACA hearing focuses on judge’s prior ruling

A hearing before a federal judge in Houston over the fate of a program shielding young immigrants from deportation has focused heavily on the judge's previous ruling against an earlier Obama-era program.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen heard arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Texas against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Texas and several other states say the program is unlawful.

Three other federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA. If Hanen rules that DACA could end, it would create a conflict between legal rulings that legal experts say would draw the attention of higher courts.

Hanen asked pointed questions of both sides Wednesday about how DACA compares to his 2015 ruling against an expansion of DACA and another program shielding immigrant parents in the U.S. illegally.

He asked attorneys to submit new briefs in the case by Monday.


Erika Rich for The Texas Tribune
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath will roll out the first official grades for school districts Aug. 15.

Texas will soon release A-F grades for schools

In exactly a week, Texas will give its school districts official grades for the first time, rating them on a scale from A through F, with state officials promising a more transparent system that will show parents how their schools are educating students.

But the discussion about the new grades, which replace a pass/fail system, is already getting messy. Superintendents and educator advocacy groups, historically opposed to the graded system, are already organizing a campaign to fight it — arguing that letter grades cannot accurately reflect their work or factor in the challenges of educating a student body with diverse needs.

The state will use the grades to judge school performance and make policy decisions about their management.


Makenzie Noland of Abilene posted photos of the huge gator on her Facebook page as she plans to graduate Friday in College Station.

Texas A&M student takes graduation photos with alligator

A soon-to-be Texas A&M University graduate has taken her senior portraits with a nearly 14-foot alligator in a swamp where both spent the summer.

Makenzie Noland of Abilene posted photos of the huge gator — named Big Tex — on her Facebook page as she plans to graduate Friday in College Station.

Noland is a wildlife ecology major who’s been interning at Gator Country Adventure Parkin Beaumont. She posted the comment “not your typical graduation picture” with the photos, with Noland wearing a Texas A&M cap and banner.

Noland, who’s seen standing in thigh-deep water , says it’s what she’s been doing all summer with Big Tex during shows at Gator Country.

One photo posted online by Noland shows her senior class ring atop the alligator’s nose.


Top morning stories:

Reed Saxon/AP

Demonstrators urging the Democratic Party to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) rally outside the office of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Los Angeles Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.


Case that could end DACA will unfold in Houston court

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen on Wednesday will hear arguments in a lawsuit against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit alongside 10 other states in May of this year to have DACA declared unlawful, stopping the federal government from issuing or renewing any more permits.


Grand jury considers indictment for Santa Fe shooter

The Galveston County Daily News reports a grand jury this week is hearing evidence in the case against a 17-year-old accused of killing 10 people and wounding 13 others at Santa Fe High School last May. Grand juries decide whether or not to indict suspects.

The Daily News reports it is not clear whether prosecutors will bring additional charges. The investigation is still ongoing.


Mother of ‘Little Jacob' indicted

Galveston County Consortium
Rebecca Suzanne Rivera, 34, was arrested on the tampering charge in June and has been held at the Galveston County jail on a $250,000 bond.

A grand jury has indicted the mother of a 4-year-old boy whose naked body was found last year on a Galveston beach. The Galveston County grand jury indicted 34-year-old Rebecca Rivera on Tuesday, on a count of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury and a count of tampering with physical evidence.

Jayden Alexander Lopez's body was found in last October on a Galveston beach. Authorities had named him "Little Jacob" after no one came forward to report him missing.


Rice archive catalogs Fort Bend advocate's efforts to preserve convict leasing history

Since 2015, Rice University archivists have been collecting and cataloging Reginald Moore's work to preserve the history of convict leasing in Sugar Land.
Laura Isensee
Since 2015, Rice University archivists have been collecting and cataloging Reginald Moore’s work to preserve the history of convict leasing in Sugar Land.

Archaeologists recently discovered a historic cemetery in Fort Bend County, reopening an often forgotten chapter in Texas history: How the state forced mostly black prisoners to work in plantations and sugarcane fields after the Civil War, in what many consider legalized slavery.

Now there's a growing effort to preserve that history.


Vaccine developed by Texas researchers deployed in lastest Ebola outbreak

A vaccine developed by researchers in Galveston is helping fight another Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization said the vaccine is being rolled out again as early as Wednesday, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The vaccine was used to stop an outbreak in Congo last May, and just a week later four people tested positive for Ebola in a different part of the country.


The 1961 hurricane that changed how broadcasters presented storms

Today, showing the radar image of a hurricane on live television is expected. But in 1961, it had never been done before.

Hurricane Carla was the most intense hurricane to strike Texas in the past century. The storm brought record wind speeds. It battered 300 miles of the Texas coast with storm surges, from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, causing the largest peacetime evacuation in U.S. history to date.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or subscribe via RSS.


Houston manufacturers add 6,700 jobs

The Houston area has added 6,700 manufacturing jobs in the past year. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the number of jobs in that sector has grown by 3 percent since June of 2017. The Dallas Business Journal reports the numbers rank Houston third in manufacturing job growth when put up against the country's largest metro areas.


Historic win for Colon

Texas Ranger pitcher Bartolo Colon on Tuesday night became the winningest pitcher born in Latin America, going seven innings for his 246th career victory.

The Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 11-4 in Arlington.

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