KSAM News

KSAM News

BILLY JOE WARDLOW EXECUTED

The Texas Tribune reports that Billy Joe Wardlow was executed by lethal injection at the Huntsville Unit last night at 6:28. Wardlow’s execution was the first in the state since COVID-19 became a pandemic.

Wardlow was executed for a robbery and a murder in East Texas that he committed when he was 18-years-old. Some Texas legislators and neuroscientists have objected to the execution based on Wardlow’s age at the time of the crime. All of his appeals were denied by the U-S Supreme Court last night.

SHSU OFFERS NEW MINOR FOCUSED ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice is a leader in their field of study. Like any good leader, they continue to adapt to, adjust with, and stay ahead of the times and a new minor offered this fall is just the latest example of that dedication.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, SHSU will offer a minor in Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion. While the current economic crisis and recent protests have sparked the topic of social change and criminal justice reform across the nation, SHSU has been planning this new offering for years, as research on this new minor proposal began in 2018.

Professor Holly Miller provided the leading effort to revise existing courses to fit this new program and is hopeful about the impact these courses will have on the state.

ECONOMIST LARRY KUDLOW PRAISES THE USMCA DEAL

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow met up with reporters outside the White House Wednesday to discuss various topics.

Questions on the U-S Mexico Canada Trade Agreement came up and Director Kudlow was very positive in regard to its future benefits.

He said, “Our two-way trade with Canada and Mexico is over twice what it is with China, so in that economic sense it’s really a more important deal . . . .”

STATE SALES TAX REVENUE TOTALED $2.7 BILLION IN JUNE

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.67 billion in June, 6.5 percent less than in June 2019.

The majority of June sales tax revenue is based on sales made in May and remitted to the agency in June. Widespread social distancing requirements were relaxed across much of the state in May.

Hegar said, “The decline in state sales tax collections was driven principally by steep drops in remittances from oil- and gas-related sectors.” He said, “Collections from the construction and amusement service sectors were also sharply down.”

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The Walker County Office of Emergency Management reports that as of 3 PM Tuesday, July 7, among regular county residents there were 470 active cases, 186 recovered, and deaths remain at 3. Please note that 28 new community cases were recorded since the last report on July 6.

They report that at TDCJ there were 33 active cases among offenders, 1,598 recovered and 28 deceased. Among TDCJ employees, there were 43 active cases reported with 170 recovered.

A community testing is underway today, and will also be offered July 22 and July 23, 9 AM to 6 PM, at the Walker County Fairgrounds. Symptoms do not have to be present to test; however, you must register at txcovidtest.org or call 512-883-2400. A valid ID is required at the test site. Registration begins 24 hours prior.

CITY COUNCIL MEETS & TAKES A PRELIMINARY VIEW OF THE UPCOMING BUDGET

At the regular session of the Huntsville City Council last night, councilmembers were given a preliminary look at the upcoming budget.

Before City Finance Director Steve Ritter began his briefing, City Manager Aron Kulhavy told councilmembers . . . .

A couple of brief snapshots from Steve Ritter:

On property tax revenue . . . .

Regarding sales tax . . . .

Mr. Ritter went on into great detail on his preliminary overview of the budget. City Manager Kulhavy said there will be budget presentations at the next few meetings.

$1.8 MILLION IN GLO GRANTS AWARDED TO CITY

This week, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the Texas General Land Office (GLO) approved $1,848,750 in Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery grants for the City of Huntsville to make flood, drainage, and street improvements.

With these funds, the City of Huntsville will excavate, clear, and grub existing drainage channels off West Greenbriar Drive and River Oaks Drive. These channels will receive erosion control measures, reinforced concrete box culverts, headwalls, wing walls and concrete aprons, and sodding at channel banks and bench areas.

Additionally, the city will remove existing pavement and storm structures and install new roadways and storm sewer inlets at the following locations:

  • West Greenbriar Drive – from Freemont Drive to approximately 400 linear feet east along West Greenbriar Drive
  • River Oaks Drive at Greenbriar Drive – approximately 200 linear feet southeast along River Oaks Drive
  • River Oaks Drive at East Lake Drive – approximately 200 linear feet northwest along River Oaks Drive

SHSU CREATES A NATIONWIDE RESEARCH STUDY ON COVID-19 RESPONSE

Sam Houston State University, in collaboration with the state of Texas, established the Center for Assessment, Research, and Education Safety (C.A.R.E.S.) in early 2020 to focus on school safety.

Originally tasked with creating a statewide needs assessment on school safety, mental health and violence in schools, C.A.R.E.S is now going nationwide. Education leaders across the country are invited to participate in a new research study related to institutional responses to COVID-19.

This new project, which launched July 6, uses a crowdsourcing data collection method (IdeaScale) to examine decision-making processes and ideas for future responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators can join the community and start offering ideas here: https://shsu.ideascale.com/

FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY COMMENTS ON THE AMBITIONS OF THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT

Through their recent hard line actions, we now know how Chinese government leadership really sees their relationship with the formerly free Hong Kong, but how do they really see us.

FBI Director Christopher Wray this week, in remarks to the Hudson Institute, passed along what he has learned about them . . . .

Director Wray also said, “They’ve pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors, including not just Chinese intelligence services, but state-owned enterprises, extensively private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers and a wide variety of other actors working on their behalf.”

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM DEADLINE EXTENDED

It started Monday. Congressman Kevin Brady informed us that small businesses can once again apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020. Already, more than 4.8 million PPP applications have been approved for a total of more than $521 billion in relief loans. 

The Paycheck Protection Program protects millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing funds for job retention and certain other expenses. 

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. 

To learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program, and to apply for a loan, click here.

To learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program’s success, click here.

To find a list of eligible local lenders, click here.