Top Stories

Customs And Border Protection Acting Commissioner Resigns, Critical Situation At Harris County Animal Shelter, And Houston’s Appeal For Driverless Delivery

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner John Sanders.

Customs And Border Protection Acting Commissioner Resigns

The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday he’s stepping down amid outrage over his agency’s treatment of detained migrant children. John Sanders said in a message to CBP employees that he would resign on July 5.

CBP is the agency that apprehends and first detains migrant parents and children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Lawyers who visited CBP facilities last week described squalid conditions: inadequate food, lack of medical care, and children trying to care for toddlers.

Six children have died since late last year after being detained by CBP.

Sanders pushed Congress to pass $4.5 billion in humanitarian funding. In an interview last week with The Associated Press, Sanders talked about how the deaths “impacted him profoundly.”

Dogs are housed at the Harris County Animal Shelter, which is currently severely overcrowded.

Critical Situation At Harris County Animal Shelter

The Harris County Animal Shelter is currently housing more than double the animals it has capacity for and is asking for help from residents that could adopt or foster. Shelter officials are concerned about the possibility of having to euthanize a significant number of animals.

As of Tuesday, the shelter was housing 510 animals, mostly dogs, while its maximum capacity is supposed to be 200, spokesperson Kerry McKeel told News 88.7. “We don’t have the ability to hold animals indefinitely and space is a concern,” said McKeel. “We are putting animals everywhere we can right now.”

McKeel noted that “at the beginning of May, spring time, is when we really started to see an uptick in the number of animals coming in.” She said summer is traditionally the busiest intake season at the shelter.

The shelter is asking residents to either adopt animals or temporarily take them in foster care.

Domino’s autonomous pizza delivery vehicle is made by robotics company Nuro.

Houston’s Appeal For Driverless Delivery

Last week, Domino’s announced it will launch its first self-driving pizza delivery in Houston. And earlier this year, Kroger chose the Bayou City as one of its first places for driverless grocery delivery.

So what is it about Houston that makes it an attractive city for companies to test out their autonomous vehicles?

Chris Newport, senior manager with tech consulting firm Accenture in Houston, thinks there are a few reasons – economic, structural, environmental and cultural.

“We have in Houston an electrical grid that’s been designed to meet a high demand for power and to do so in a resilient way,” he said. “And our transportation network has been largely designed for cars.”

Other factors he mentioned are Houston’s strong population growth, climate, flat geography and tradition of welcoming innovative services.