This Week's Headlines

Court votes 3-2 on controversial toll road issue

COVID numbers inconsistent

Airshow coming, but different

South Belt Hurricane information

Property appraisers to visit area homes

Son shoots man attacking his parents

City courts extend jury trial resets

Outdoor grill cause of house fires

Roberts loses extracurricular argument

Time runs out for voter registration

Tropical Storm Beta drenches South Belt

Frazier welcomes students back

Baldwins, Dobie open with big win over Jersey Village

Volleyballers shift to district play

Campa goes 3 for 3; Singleton, Olivares continue to wow

Wolverines provide win in coach Towels’ debut

Harris County clerk launches new e-Commerce website feature

Scholarship program seeking Texas’ top youth volunteers

Bolen finalist for RONE award

 

Court votes 3-2 on controversial toll road issue

Harris County Commissioners Court recently voted to create a local government corporation to manage the county’s toll road system.

The move, approved 3-2 along party lines, aims to take advantage of historically low interest rates, while simultaneously freeing up funds previously tied to only transportation projects, allowing revenue to be used in other county departments.

According to statistics from the Harris County Toll Road Authority, the proposal will save the county approximately $60 million by refinancing the system’s roughly $2.7 billion debt at lower rates through the corporation.

Democratic proponents of the proposal said the extra funds could be used to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and flood control issues. Republican opponents pointed to the $2.5 billion bond measure that already passed in 2018 to help with area flood projects and stressed the need for further study on the issue.

The measure will neither increase tolls nor privatize the tollway system, as discussed in previous Commissioners Court meetings, officials said.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo supports the proposal, saying the county should “maximize every dollar.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle, a 1979 Dobie graduate, was one of the dissenting Republican voices, suggesting that such a major decision should not be rushed.

“Because of the size of this transaction, I know that we have legal counsel and I know that we have financial advisors, but when someone goes into surgery, often times, they get a second opinion,” Cagle said.

Cagle further argued that the proposal deserved proper input from the community, reading letters from multiple civic groups and chambers of commerce that expressed concern over the matter.

“I think that all of them (the local concerns) could be addressed if we engaged in a process very similar to what we did when we had the $2.5 billion bond,” Cagle said of the letters. “We go out and get some input from the community instead of making a mad rush to engage in such a large transaction, we could better serve our constituents.”

Fellow Republican, Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack, took a more aggressive approach, accusing the Democrats on the court of siphoning funds from the tollway system, which collected more than $900 million this past year, to use for pet projects.

“This is a money grab,” Radack said. “They’re going to use it to pay for things that are normally paid for via taxes.”

The five Commissioners Court members will serve as board members of the new corporation until replacements have been appointed.

COVID numbers inconsistent

While the latest COVID-19 statistics, as reported each week by the Leader, may appear to fluctuate significantly from week to week, the figures are the latest available to the newspaper at press time through Harris County officials.

The Houston Health Department, which works jointly with the county in updating the latest COVID-19 stats each day, has acknowledged a lag in reporting, particularly in the number of deaths and recovered.

Should a resident die outside of a hospital or not be diagnosed with COVID-19, it may take the medical examiner’s office several weeks to determine the cause of death. Additionally, if deaths take place in hospitals outside the county, this can also add to delays.

Local officials have also attributed lags in reporting cases to an outdated computer system used by the state’s health department, which is incapable of tracking the 60,000 or more tests reported on some days.

To view the latest Harris County statistics, visit publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/re
sources/2019-novel-coronavirus
.

To view the latest State of Texas statistics, visit dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/additionaldata.aspx.

Airshow coming, but different

The 36th Annual Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow will take to the air Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9-11, and will offer fans a drive-in viewing experience to ensure safe social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final lineup for an unprecedented three-day show will showcase the skills of four U.S. Air Force demonstration teams – F-22 Raptor, F-16 Viper, A-10C Thunderbolt II and the C-17 Globemaster III. The show will also include several aerobatic performers, fan favorite Tora! Tora! Tora! and an array of vintage World War II aircraft.

Tickets
Drive-in parking slots for this year’s show are now being offered online only to registered Insider fans Thursday, Sept. 24. Sign up now at no cost to become an Insider on the air show’s website, www.wingsoverhouston.com. Any remaining parking slots will become available to non-Insiders Saturday, Sept. 26, through the air show’s website or by calling 888-4-FLYSHOW. There will be no general admission, reserved seating or walk-up ticket sales at the show.

“We have done everything possible over many months to hold this show for our fans, and we are appreciative to the mayor, city officials, Houston Airport Authority and many others for working with us to offer a drive-in show concept.

We are also very grateful to our sponsors who have stayed with us and made this show possible every year, but especially this one,” said Bill Roach, air show director. “While this will be a very different show lineup and viewing experience, we also are proud to host every single-ship demonstration team the U.S. Air Force has to offer. For three days in October, we are going to put on an amazing show, which is something I think we all need during these difficult times and also as a reminder of how important and fortunate we are to live in a free country.”

Unlike normal years, the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing required changes to the show format and rules fans must follow.

Fans will be required to remain in or alongside their vehicle and must wear masks to use public restroom facilities. Fans are encouraged to bring pre-prepared food and drinks; as there will be no vendors at the show and grills are prohibited. Houston city officials approved the air show, including these guidelines, on Sept. 15.

Produced by the Commemorative Air Force, the nonprofit air show performance lineup includes the following acts:
– The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team is the world’s first fifth generation dedicated combat aircraft demonstration unit and remains the only twin-engine, vectored-thrust demonstration unit in the world. F-16 Viper Demonstration Team will present the flying capabilities of the single-seat, multi-mission fighter that can fly over Mach 2 and the ability to switch from an air-to-ground to an air-to-air role at the touch of a button.
– The A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team will exhibit the capabilities of the A-10 “Warthog,” a premier close air support aircraft that provides invaluable protection to troops on the ground.
– The C-17 Globemaster III Demonstration Team will fly the most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force, which is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area
– The U.S. Air Force will showcase a Heritage Flight formation with aircraft (aircraft not yet finalized). Jason Newburg’s Viper Airshows features ‘extreme’ aerobatic pilot Jason Newburg who flies a dazzling show in his customized Viper Pitts S2S aircraft.
– Jacquie B Airshows presents the amazing aerobatic flying skills of Jacquie Warda in her one-of-a-kind Pitts biplane.
– La Porte resident Deborah Rihn-Harvey, world aerobatic champion, will fly a demonstration that showcases why she is one of the highest ranked aerobic competitors in the United States.
– Fan favorite, Tora! Tora! Tora! returns again to wow fans with their explosive re-enactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which includes an exciting show on the ground, too.
– The U.S. Coast Guard will demonstrate rescue routines, having provided an all-weather 24/7 search and rescue capability to the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast since 1963.
– Vintage aircraft performing and on display from various units of the Commemorative Air Force, Vietnam War Flight Museum, Lewis Air Legends and Collings Foundation West, as well as two privately owned P-51 Mustangs and a collection from Stewart Dawson.
– The custom-built Shockwave Jet Truck, powered by three massive J34-48 Pratt & Whitney jet engines, will scream down the runway at chilling speeds.
– The RE/MAX Skydiving Team will open the show with a performance choreographed to the national anthem.
The show will be an air performance only; there will be no static aircraft on display, and the warbird area will not be opened before the show. The previously announced Canadian Forces Snowbirds will not perform this year.

About the air show
The Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community event produced by a volunteer effort of the Gulf Coast Wing, Houston Wing, and Tora! Tora! Tora! of the Commemorative Air Force, with support from the Vietnam War Flight Museum, Lewis Air Legends and Collings Foundation West. The air show is dedicated to showcasing vintage World War II aircraft, along with the thrills of modern aviation. One of the top air shows in the United States in its category, the CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow attracts more than 90,000 festival goers throughout Houston as well as from around the globe. The 2020 air show benefits the CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow Scholarship Program, military recruiting efforts, and the Commemorative Air Force aircraft restoration and flying historical programs, in addition to numerous other nonprofit organizations.

 

E-mail mynews@southbeltleader.com with news items of interest.

Return to top of page