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Petrochemical Boom Draws Environmental Concerns, Transparency Concerns Surround Santa Fe ISD Board Meeting, And More

What we’re following today at Houston Public Media

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Transparency concerns surround Santa Fe ISD video policy

The Santa Fe school district’s policy of removing public comment from online board meeting videos has reportedly been raising questions about transparency.

The Santa Fe school board has seen increased scrutiny since a deadly shooting in May.

The Galveston Daily News reports the board began recording meetings in August but has been deleting public comments from those videos when they are posted online.

The district told the Daily News it does so in the interest of student confidentiality and that the board keeps summaries of public comment in written minutes. Still, that reportedly has some people concerned.

 

Body of UH student found

The body of a University of Houston (UH) student who was missing since April 2017 has been recovered in north Houston and the medical examiner’s office has determined the manner of death was a homicide, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences reported Wednesday.

 

Gulf Coast petrochemical boom ignites environmental concerns

In a new report tallying up the Gulf Coast petrochemical industry boom of recent years, environmental groups say they’re worried industrial facilities are being built too close to flood-prone areas.

Fracking has driven huge investments in plants that use oil and gas to make things like plastic and fertilizer. A report from the Environmental Integrity Project says regulators in Texas and Louisiana have approved 31 new plants – or plant expansions – along the coast over just the past two years. The report says the two states have approved more than 70 such projects since 2012.

 

Two years after campus carry, what’s changed?

Acting Captain Bret Collier of the University of Houston Police Department stands in front of the cabinets where license holders’ guns are stored.

Last month, a federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit by three professors at the University of Texas at Austin that argued Texas’s campus carry law stifles free speech.

Reporter Florian Martin asked the University of Houston Police Department what, if any, tangible effect the law has had on college campuses since its implementation.

 “There would be no way for us to know that because we don’t ask the question,” Lt. Bret Collier, acting captain for UHPD’s patrol division, said.

 

How investing in the arts could drive innovation in Houston

When we hear about “innovation,” we may automatically think of technology hubs like Silicon Valley or Austin. But what about arts and culture? How do they drive innovation?

That’s what author and urban scholar and Elizabeth Currid-Halkett studies. She’s a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy. She’s speaking at a Rice University event tonight about the importance of cities investing in innovation for a competitive advantage.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Maggie Martin talks with Currid-Halkett about how Houston can invest more in the arts and why she says we’ll ultimately come out ahead for doing so.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

General Assignments Reporter

Davis Land is a general assignment reporter for Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media/Transom.org in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a...

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