Top Stories

Gate Replacements On Local Dams, Diminished Border Commerce Affects Texas, Former Border Patrol Chief To Lead ICE, And More

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

Monday, May 6, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

The Addicks Reservoir.

Gate Replacements On Addicks And Barker Dams

With hurricane season less than a month away, Houston eyes are turning nervously to the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to avert a repeat of the flooding that took place during Hurricane Harvey, when the storm filled the reservoirs to overflow, and the Corps was compelled to release water ease pressure on the dams.

The Corps is now nearly finished with a $75-million project to replace the gates on both dams.

"That started in 2015 and is scheduled to be wrap up next summer," said Andrew Weber, a project manager for the Corps' Galveston District.

Port of entry in Laredo, TX.

Diminished Border Commerce Affects Texas

Business leaders are worried about the economic impacts of longer wait times now that hundreds of border agents have been moved away from official checkpoints.

A new report shows Texas GDP could lose $33 billion if trade with Mexico moves at a slower pace at the border.

The Perryman Group research firm made those calculations assuming a one-third reduction in cross-border trade over three months.

The group's CEO Ray Perryman said a slowdown would hurt industries statewide, not just the border region.

"Twenty-five percent of all the economic activity in the state occurs in the Houston area, so it's a very big part of the area and also a big part of the manufacturing sector with big equipment and machinery and other things," said Perryman.

Mark Morgan.

Former Border Patrol Chief To Lead ICE

President Trump has named Mark Morgan, a former FBI agent and veteran of the Obama administration, as the new head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The president announced Morgan's selection in a tweet on Sunday, writing, "I am pleased to inform all of those that believe in a strong, fair and sound Immigration Policy that Mark Morgan will be joining the Trump administration as the head of our hard working men and women of ICE. Mark is a true believer and American Patriot."

Morgan served as chief of Border Patrol during the final months of the Obama administration, but he has emerged as a vocal supporter of the president's immigration policies. Morgan has publicly backed President Trump's calls for a border wall, as well as his decision to declare a national emergency in order to fund its construction.

Galveston Seawall Boulevard.

Galveston Seawall Paid Parking Program Extended Until 2029

Galveston residents have extended the program that charges for parking on the Seawall Boulevard until 2029. Voters approved the ballot measure in a local election on Saturday, May 4.

The program covers a 10-mile stretch in two sections, from 6th to 69th street, and from 81st to 103rd street.

Voters also approved increasing the hourly parking rate from $1 to $2.

The program was launched in 2013 and was set to expire on July 27, 2020. Now it will be in effect until December 31, 2029. The paid parking hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The revenue the City of Galveston gets from the program pays for improvements along the Seawall, such as lighting, bathrooms and landscaping.

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