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Imelda Recovery Includes Assistance Fund, Acevedo Discusses Bail Reform, Historic Heights Church Will Take Months To Recover From Fire, And Houston’s Teenage Curfew Changes

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

Monday, September 23, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Macie Kelly/Houston Public Media
Harris County Precinct 2 employee Sandra Zamarripa gives Jesse Cantu an American Red Cross bucket filled with cleaning supplies.

Imelda Recovery Includes Assistance Fund And Help Centers

Harris County and the City of Houston are asking for donations to the Imelda Assistance Fund to help those impacted by last week's tropical storm.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said funds will help repair as many as 1,500 local homes damaged by the storm.

Houstonians are encouraged to donate to the fund online.

Harris County is also opening two local recovery centers to help residents recover from the storm. Centers are located at Kingwood United Methodist Church and the Grayson Community Center, near Greens Bayou. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Macie Kelly/Houston Public Media
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo visited Houston Public Media to participate in Houston Matters’ Monday edition.

Acevedo Discusses Bail Reform In Harris County

Speaking on Houston Matters Monday Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said when it comes to bail reform in Harris County, it's important to do a risk assessment on whether the person in question has a history of violent crime.

But, if the person is not involved in violent behavior or committed crimes against other people, he's okay with releasing them if they promise to show up on their court date. "We have to make better informed decisions and decisions that are based on risk to the public and not on anything but that," he said. Acevedo added that limited resources like jail space have to be considered too.

The police chief also answered listener questions about law enforcement in Greater Houston and discusses issues from the emergency response to recent flooding to crime rates. He also talked about how he recently arrested a speeder.

Courtesy of Rev. Emily Chapman, St. Mark's United Methodist Church
The southwest section of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, located in Houston’s Heights neighborhood, sustained most of the damage caused by a 2-alarm fire on Sept. 20, 2019.

Historic Heights Church Will Take Months To Recover From 2-Alarm Fire

The senior pastor of St. Mark's United Methodist Church says it will take months for her church to completely recover from a 2-alarm fire that blazed at the historic church last week. Worship services will be held at nearby schools for the next few weeks.

In an interview with News 88.7 Monday, Rev. Emily Chapman said the church doesn't have an estimate of the losses yet.

She said that the fire was mostly contained to one section of the second floor — the southwest corner of the church — but said the entire building suffered smoke and water damage.

"There's really not a part of it that is completely undamaged, everything has smoke damage, some of it has water damage," Chapman said. "And, of course, the fire damage on the second floor did take the roof entirely, the roof and ceiling entirely and blew all the windows out."

St. Mark's United Methodist Church was built in 1939 but its origins in Houston date back to the 1870's. And the fire has rattled the community, according to other media.

Travis Bubenik/Houston Public Media
Houston police officers.

Houston’s Teenage Curfew Changes

Houston police can ticket teens under the age of 17 for being out at certain times of day without an adult. Currently, that curfew is enforced during daytime hours on school days, but after City Council voted Wednesday to change the policy, minors will only get a citation for being out after 11 p.m. on weekdays and after midnight on the weekend.

The penalty will also be lowered from $500 to $50.

In Houston, a curfew violation is a class C misdemeanor, like getting a traffic ticket. HPD issued 137 juvenile curfew citations in 2018.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the changes in Houston's juvenile curfew ordinance are a compromise between people who support the curfew and those who would like to get rid of it.

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