In his 2019 Inaugural Address this week, Governor Greg Abbott outlined his several priorities—education, reigning in a burdensome property tax system, helping coastal regions to become more resilient to catastrophic weather events and to crack down on human trafficking and gangs.
He seems to be especially focused on improving issues in the education arena in helping students . . . .
Our 8th District Congressman Kevin Brady reports that, “As the Trump Administration is looking for ways to ensure our national security by enhancing border security, DC media was quick to report from unknown sources that Hurricane Harvey funding was being considered.” He reports, “As soon as I heard this rumor, I spoke directly with the White House and was assured that this is not the case.” He added, “The Texas Congressional Delegation worked directly with the White House in order to procure record level funding to help victims recover from this disaster and to prevent future flooding, and they know exactly how vital this funding is for our communities.”
Representing Sam Houston State University, Abbey Zink, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is one of thirty-seven leaders from more than two dozen universities, that have been selected to take part in the sixth cohort of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, co-hosted by Arizona State University and Georgetown University.
The eight-month program, which began Nov. 12 and takes place at Georgetown and ASU, focuses on preparing participants to lead organizational change at colleges and universities.
During the four intensive sessions in the District of Columbia and Tempe, Arizona, Zink will be introduced to the latest thinking and research about change leadership, teaching and learning in a digital age, external challenges facing higher education and the financial sustainability of institutions.
At Tuesday’s regular session of the Huntsville City Council, councilmembers conducted a First Reading regarding entering into contract Amendment #1 with Architects Design Group for the design of the Huntsville Police and Fire Department Proposition/Bond Project #1 and adopting an ordinance for the associated budget amendment.
City Manager Aron Kulhavy commented on the agenda item from the outset . . . .
The building projects have an estimate of $24 million and are projected to be constructed on two separate sites, instead of the original one site. The original estimate for debt was $31 million.
Councilmember Allen expressed objections. He said, ”Our voters, got misinformation when they went to the ballot box and voted; they voted for a $31 million project . . . .”
Councilmember Davidhizar expressed a contrary opinion. He said the contract was for what he called “a best case scenario.” He added that he would “rather borrow $24 million than $31 million.”
Mr. Davidhizar felt the city manager and staff were “committed” to not going over the amount.
The issue will be discussed further by the council in the future.
According to a story released by the Huntsville Item, the Huntsville Memorial Hospital reports that Steven L. Smith will assume the position of the new CEO at HMH on February 11th.
He will be taking the place of the interim CEO, Michael Morgan.
Mr. Smith will begin as CEO employed by Healthcare Management Partners. However, the hospital district, corporation or future owner of the hospital reserve the right to hire him as a permanent Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Smith was CEO of Matagorda Regional Medical Center in Bay City and Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital
The Walker County Warrior Banquet is coming up at the Walker County Fairgrounds Thursday, January 24th at 5:30 PM featuring Sergeant Major Carlton Kent. The banquet is honoring and supporting the Mighty Oaks Foundation.
General Seating is $50. Spokesperson Rusty Davis fills us in on how to get tickets . . . .
Reserved, Reserved Corporate and Corporate Table tickets are also available.
In Huntsville police news, during the day shift last Friday, an unknown person stole a Gator ATV in the 1200 block of 7th Street. A possibly known suspect committed forgery in the 1600 block of Wildwood.
On the night shift Friday, a vehicle was reported stolen in the 1000 block of Oak Drive. A known person attempted to assault a police officer with a deadly weapon in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
On the night shift Saturday, two unknown suspects assaulted a victim in the 2400 block of Montgomery Road. In the 1500 block of 11th Street, a known suspect assaulted a victim.
On Sunday’s night shift, three assaults by known suspects were reported—an aggravated assault in the 1900 block of Merchant, an assault in the 2600 block of El Toro and an assault in the 100 block of I-45 North. A commercial burglary was investigated in the 3000 block of State Highway 30.
On Monday’s day shift two thefts were reported—one in the 100 block of Memorial Hospital Drive and another in the 300 block of Watkins Street. A vehicle was reported stolen in the 1300 block of Smither Drive. On Lakeview Manor, Bryan Petron was arrested for assault by offensive touch and resisting arrest.
Attorney General nominee William Barr was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Members of the Committee were wondering if Mr. Barr believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller should finish his investigation . . . .
The Houston Chronicle reports that 29-year-old Blaine Milam, found guilty of killing his 13-month-old son in an exorcism gone wrong in 2008, was given a last-minute stay of execution Monday over evidence used in his conviction and on the issue that he may be too intellectually disabled to receive the death penalty.
He was scheduled to be executed today at the Walls Unit.
The Huntsville City Council meets for a regular session this evening at six. There will be a workshop at 5 PM where the council will hear about economic development initiatives.
During their Proclamations and Presentations segment, the council will recognize the Alpha Omega Academy 2018 championship football team and Crime Stoppers month.
The council will have a public hearing on the proposed annexation of the 14.95 acre Lot 1 of the Johnny Q. Griffin, II 31.12 acre tract.
The Consent Agenda includes a Second Reading regarding entering into a contract for the construction of the 2018 AJ-12 Basin Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Projects and a Second Reading regarding authorizing annual participation with other Entergy service area cities in matters concerning Entergy Texas at the Public Utility Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Also, on tonight’s regular agenda is a First Reading to consider entering into a contract amendment #1 with Architects Design Group for the design of the Huntsville Police and Fire Department Proposition/Bond Project #1.