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Local Leaders Support State Funding For Grand Parkway, Upcoming Affordable LGBTQ Senior Living Center, Backlash Against Galveston Police Over Arrestee Led By Rope, And More

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

overview of construction project
This 2015 file photo shows a construction zone at the intersection of the Grand Parkway and the Hardy Toll Road.

Local Leaders Support State Funding For Grand Parkway

After years in the planning stages, the Texas Transportation Commission is now thinking about removing part of the Grand Parkway from its 10-year funding plan, known as the Unified Transportation Program.

The proposed section they’re considering defunding is the part that would run from I-69 near Sugar Land to I-45 at League City.

Local leaders planned to speak at a Tuesday public hearing about their need for the Grand Parkway, especially as the region’s population grows. One of those signed up to speak is John Baumgartner, City Manager for League City. “The Grand Parkway has been part of the planning process as a toll facility for a number of years,” said Baumgartner.

Friendswood State Senator Larry Taylor posted on social media that he’s been working with the commission and feels confident the roadway will be funded. The Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council has also passed a resolution asking that the project be kept in the Unified Transportation Program.

The Montrose Center broke ground on a new LGBTQ-affirming senior living center.

Upcoming Affordable LGBTQ-Affirming Senior Living Center

The Montrose Center broke ground Tuesday on a new senior living center aimed at low-income LGBTQ residents in Houston’s Third Ward. 

The project, founded in part by former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, is open to seniors 62 years old and over. Parker says that she was inspired to get involved in the project when she visited a similar center in Los Angeles.

The Montrose Center also said in a press release that they hope the center will “support seniors, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The project has been funded in part by $5 million that was raised from the community, and the lot that the facility will be built on was donated by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority.

On August 3, 2019, two Galveston Police officers led Donald Neely by rope after arresting him for alleged trespassing.

Backlash Against Galveston Police Over Arrestee Led By Rope

Galveston’s police chief is apologizing after two of his officers, mounted on horseback, led a handcuffed suspect by a rope through downtown streets.

Photos of the Saturday incident went viral on social media. The two officers linked the rope to handcuffs worn by 43-year-old Donald Neely, who was being detained for criminal trespass and led him around the block to a mounted patrol staging area.

In a statement sent out on Monday, Police Chief Vernon Hale said “this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios,” such as with crowd control. However, he said he believes his officers “showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest.”

He said his department has “immediately changed the policy” to prevent use of the technique.

Derion Vence.

New Charge Against Derion Vence In Maleah Davis Case

Harris County prosecutors have filed a more serious charge against Derion Vence in the case of Maleah Davis’ death. The 4-year-old girl was reported missing in May and was later found dead in Arkansas.

Vence, ex fiancee of Davis’ mother, has been charged with causing serious bodily injury to a child. The count against Vence carries a potential life sentence. He is scheduled to appear in court on the new charge on Wednesday.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in statement sent out on Monday that “after a review of all of the evidence, including the autopsy results,” prosecutors determined there was enough evidence to charge Vence with the more serious count.

District attorney’s office spokesman Dane Schiller said the investigation in the case continues and a potential murder charge against Vence is “not off the table.”

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