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Houston Unites For One MLK Parade, Sheriff Gonzalez Discusses Jazmine Barnes Case, Harvey’s Effect On Apartment Market, And More

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee speaks at MLK Day parade announcement
Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (right) spoke at the event Mayor Sylvester Turner (left) held to announce the single parade.

City Of Houston Unites Behind One Parade For MLK Day

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday that the City will now partner with the Black Heritage Society on a single parade.

For years, the Bayou City has held dueling parades to mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: the Original MLK Jr. Day Parade, which is organized by the Black Heritage Society, and the MLK Grand Parade.

Turner said the decision was made after meeting with community groups. "It was time for the city to just stand and put its official seal behind one," said Turner. "And I hope the people will honor the decision."

The mayor said this year's event will pay tribute to Ovide Duncantell, the Black Heritage Society's founder who died last year.

The parade is set for 10 a.m. on January 21.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (right) visited Houston Matters on January 7, 2019, to discuss the investigation of the murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes with host Craig Cohen (left).
Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz/Houston Public Media
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (right) visited Houston Matters to discuss the Jazmine Barnes murder case.

Sheriff Gonzalez Discusses Jazmine Barnes Murder Case

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told Houston Matters Monday the investigation of the murder of Jazmine Barnes is ongoing and there is a second suspect in the case, in addition to Eric Black Jr., who has already been charged with capital murder.

"This investigation will be guided by evidence and also by our follow-up work and, so, when we're finally complete with everything, then we'll see where that leads us," Gonzalez told Houston Matters host Craig Cohen.

The Sheriff said investigators "have information that there's a second suspect," and added "we still need to verify some information, so no one else has been charged at this time." Gonzalez said the second suspect is African-American, same as Black Jr., the AP reported.

The Sheriff declined to comment on the name of the suspect or whether he is in custody, but underscored his department will remain "focused and diligent."

Same as he said Sunday during a press conference, Gonzalez noted investigators think the fatal shooting of the 7-year-old girl was likely a case of mistaken identity.

Many high-income people are choosing renting over buying a home.
Florian Martin / Houston Public Media
The Houston apartment market didn’t see a big negative effect from people moving back to their homes after Harvey in 2018.

Harvey's After-Effect On Houston Apartment Market Not As Bad As Feared In 2018

The aftermath of Harvey didn't have the negative effect on the Houston apartment market last year that some analysts feared.

After the storm hit Greater Houston, apartment occupancy got a big boost from the many homeowners who needed a place to stay after their homes were flooded.

Since then, the occupancy rate has consistently stayed above 89 percent, according to research from

Other, more measurable factors are strong population and job growth, which historically lead to higher apartment absorption.

In addition, last year only about 5,000 units were added to the market – compared to more than 55,000 from 2015 to 2017 – which brings supply more in line with demand.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar discusses the Biennial Revenue Estimate for the 2020-21 biennium at the state capitol. Jan. 7, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Texas Comptroller Reports Optimistic Revenue Estimate

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Monday offered a cautiously optimistic outlook for the Texas economy, telling lawmakers they will have about 8.1 percent more state funds available to budget for public programs — primarily schools, highways and health care — in 2020 and 2021.

Hegar projected there would be about $119.1 billion in state funds available for the next two-year budget, up from $110.2 in the last two-year budget.

But falling oil prices in the last month, along with heightened uncertainty in the U.S. economy and international financial markets, led Hegar to deliver a "cloudy" forecast with some trepidation.

"We remain cautiously optimistic but recognize we're unlikely to see continued revenue growth at the unusually strong rates we've seen in recent months," he said.