Welcome to my community-building diary series, Houston, Texas News You Can Use. As always, opinions are my own. Links, re-posts, comments etc., not necessarily endorsements. I'm an out loud and proud liberal, card-carrying LGBT community member, nonprofit professional, and DKos Trusted User. I appreciate any/all feedback.
This may be my last "Houston, Texas" diary for a few weeks. I'm taking some much needed time off, but I look forward to writing some travel and West Coast political diaries. I'll be heading out to San Francisco for the 42 annual PRIDE celebration and parade this weekend. Once I'm back in Texas, I'll be driving over to San Antonio for the July 4th weekend.
For today, I want to start with important updates from the Texas Legislature.
Liveblog: Abortion, Protests, Redistricting as Special Session Nears End
After nine hours of debate, the House tentatively approved Senate Bill 5 — the omnibus abortion restriction bill — early Monday morning. The approval came after contentious debate while opponents of the legislation observed from the gallery. They erupted in applause and jeers several times during the back-and-forth. Now, lawmakers are in a race with the clock to approve — or stymie — the legislation before the special session ends on Tuesday.
Channel 2's Hurricane Survival Guide 2013
The topic of transportation evacuation starts around the 4 min. mark and 2-1-1 for transportation assistance around 5:50 min. mark.
Report: Texas among 10 worst states to be a kid
Despite its booming economy and ballooning population, Texas remains one of the 10 worst states in America to be a kid, according to a report released Monday. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, in its annual Kids Count assessment of children's health and well-being, ranked Texas 42nd nationally — up just two spots from the 2012 report, even though there were statewide improvements in access to preschool and falling rates of youngsters without health insurance. The report contains data from 2011 or earlier, the most-recent available. It found that the overall well-being of children improved nationally as the United States shook off the Great Recession. Texas has emerged from the economic doldrums better than many parts of the country, but the Casey Foundation says its child poverty rate continue to climb — reaching 26.2 percent, or more than 1.8 million children, in 2011.
What The New Charter School Bill Could Mean For Texas
Thanks to a new law, the number of charter school operators in Texas is going to grow from 215 to more than 300. That expansion could include more charter schools from outside Texas. Still, thousands of students in Houston and Texas want to attend charter schools, but can’t get in. David Dunn with the Texas Charter Schools Association says the waiting list shows a need for groups like Rocketship.
Full Recovery From Recession's Job Losses Unlikely Before Late 2014
A new survey of human resources executives suggests it could be at least another year before the unemployment rate falls to pre-recession levels. The survey, conducted by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, found fewer than half the companies adding workers had reached or surpassed the number employed before they began layoffs. John Challenger is the firm’s CEO.
Houston's overdue for major hurricane — is your business ready?
This year's hurricane season is expected to be more extreme than in previous years, weather experts say. And that could mean big trouble for Houston energy companies with operations offshore. Houston ranks as the fifth city most vulnerable and overdue for a hurricane, according to information from the Weather Channel researchers. Hurricane Ike was the latest storm to hit the Bayou City, and it was a Category 2 by the time it struck Houston in 2008. The storm surge was close to a Category 4 storm at the Bolivar Peninsula.
Anadarko towers carry names of two past CEOs
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will name the buildings that will make up its headquarters in The Woodlands after two former leaders, the company announced as its second tower reached a construction milestone. The building going up at 9950 Woodloch Forest Drive will be named Hackett Tower in honor of James Hackett, who recently retired after serving as chairman, president and CEO from 2003 to 2012. The existing 30-story headquarters at 1201 Lake Robbins Drive has been renamed Allison Tower after Robert Allison, the company's first CEO, who joined the company in 1973. It was previously called Anadarko Lake Robbins Tower.
Houston a top city for construction activity, Forbes says
Don’t expect Houston’s construction activity to slow down anytime soon. Houston took the No. 3 spot on Forbes’ recent list of the metropolitan areas with the most new construction. The list, compiled with data from McGraw Hill Construction, is ranked by the dollar volume of new “total building” construction starts between January and May 2013. Houston’s totaled $4.8 million, up 8 percent from the same period a year ago. Additionally, Houston’s full-year 2012 total was $11.1 billion, up 23 percent from 2011.
Chemical engineers' median salary soars to $120,000
Salaries for chemical engineers in the United States have surged in just two years as companies seek expertise to run plants they're building or expanding to take advantage of cheap natural gas. The median salary of $120,000 represents a 9 percent hike since 2011, according to a report this month by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. And unemployment in the field dropped from 3.8 percent to 2.1 percent during the period. Chemical engineers in the Houston-Galveston area are especially well paid, with a median salary of $144,200. The median salary for chemical engineers for the state as a whole is $140,000, according to the survey.
NONPROFIT / OTHER
The Big Boom in Online Giving
Donations to nonprofits of all size grew by 14 percent last year, according to two new studies by The Chronicle. That’s far sharper growth than the overall rise in donations in 2012 reported by “Giving USA,” which last week said that contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations rose just 1.5 percent last year after inflation. Among the techniques helping big nonprofits: Some are directing their data analysts to spot supporters who are active in online advocacy forums and figure out how to turn them into generous online donors, while others are taking a page from direct-mail appeals by seeking monthly donations.
Proposed Organ Donation Changes Stir Debate
Donation after cardiac death involves removing organs minutes after life-support has been stopped for patients who still have at least some brain activity. Is that enough time to make sure a person won't recover?
Monday BONUS BEATS