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Mayor Turner Touts Houston’s Economic Health, Harris County Criminal Justice Center Reopens, And UH Downtown Expands Food Scholarships

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Aerial view of downtown Houston.

Mayor Turner Touts Houston's Economic Health

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner used his annual message to the Greater Houston Partnership to tout the city's economic health. But Turner offered few new ideas as he heads into an election.

Mayors typically use the State of the City address to roll out major policy initiatives, but Turner spent much of the speech trying to make the case that he'd been a good steward of the city government and deserved another term.

The speech came just days after a judge invalidated voter-mandated raises for firefighters, passed as Proposition B, which would have required hundreds of such layoffs.

Turner cited Houston's unemployment rate as the lowest since 1981.

The Harris County Criminal Justice Center is located in downtown Houston.

Harris County Criminal Justice Center Reopens

Harris County's 16 Criminal Courts at Law resumed operations in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) on Monday as one more sign of post-Harvey recovery.

The hurricane flooded the CJC and the criminal courts have had to share courtrooms for bond docket and trial operations in the county's Family Law Center. The county opened four floors of the CJC in June 2018, but the remaining floors had still been undergoing renovations.

Operations are resuming in temporarily assigned courtrooms.

County officials have stated moving back to the CJC will provide greater access to courts and more opportunities for trials. It will also eliminate the need for sharing courtrooms.

Since it opened in January 2018, the student market at Texas Woman's University provides about 80 students - mostly in graduate programs - with 60 pounds of food a month.
Other colleges in Greater Houston that have partnered with the Houston Food Bank to provide food scholarships include Houston Community College, Lee College, San Jacinto College and Texas Woman's University.

UH Downtown Expands Food Scholarships

Recent national surveys show that nearly half of college students who participated say they've gone hungry in the past month. In Greater Houston, one university is taking an aggressive approach to change that.

Known as food scholarships, students can shop at a campus marketplace for fresh produce and other groceries on credit, often depending on how many hours of classes they take.

At the University of Houston Downtown (UHD), interest in the program has skyrocketed so much this semester, that the university plans to expand it. In 2019, all students who apply will receive food scholarships.

As more students at UHD use the scholarships — receiving about $60 dollars worth of food for every credit hour they take — researchers from the Houston Food Bank will track how it affects their overall success on campus.


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