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Houston and Texas

An unknown vehicle pulled up and started exchanging gunfire with the people outside.

Author: Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 25, 2019, 11:13 am

A ten-time felon was arrested Sunday after he allegedly beat his girlfriend and sparked a SWAT standoff in southwest Houston.

Author: Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 25, 2019, 12:31 am

Crews on Sunday continued to secure the Deer Park plant and surrounding waterways where officials reported that thousands of barrels of chemical product had been removed after a breached containment wall sent the hazardous materials sprawling into the Houston Ship Channel.

Officials at Intercontinental Terminals Co. said that they’ve made “significant progress” after days of setbacks at the site where a fire ravaged 11 tanks and sent Houston-area residents into a flurry over air and water quality as a result of flames and chemical releases.

“We did make the transition in unified command back to proactive mode,” said Brent Weber, incident commander for ITC. “We are in a safe place as far as protecting our responders and protecting the community.”

In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t received any reports in the past 24 hours of excessive concentrations of chemicals in the air above one part per million.

An estimated 60,000 gallons of product have been taken out of the waterways, said Jared Toczko of the US Coast Guard. Most of the remaining product — a combination of oils and nine toxins, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — has been contained within booms in Tucker Bayou.

The Coast Guard is working to recover pockets of product outside of the bayou and partially reopen the ship channel, which has been closed since Friday.

After days of roadblocks — including the reignition of two tanks and the spreading of fire to an adjacent ditch on Friday — crews have been able to remove more than 12,647 barrels of pyrolysis gasoline, or pygas, from one of the compromises tanks, according to officials at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. plant.

About 650...

Author: By Samantha Ketterer
Posted: March 24, 2019, 5:00 am

The Brooks County Sheriff's Office is having a bit of trouble filling some job vacancies. At least, according to a one of the office's dispatchers.

Author: Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 23, 2019, 7:25 pm

Police are investigating a south Houston homicide after they found a man lying dead in the street Saturday morning with an unknown number of gunshot wounds.

Author: Jasper Scherer
Posted: March 23, 2019, 2:18 pm

Police are investigating a shooting in northwest Houston that left an 18-year-old male dead Friday evening after a suspect walked up behind him on the street and opened fire, officials said.

Author: Jasper Scherer
Posted: March 23, 2019, 2:12 pm

A Houston police officer is in custody as a person of interest in the deadly shooting of a woman in Pearland, according to two law enforcement sources. Pearland police were called at noon Saturday to a house in the 1900 block of Canyon Creek Court, after receiving a call from a family member of a dead person inside.

Author: By St. John Barned-Smith
Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am

U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, continued to chart a moderate course on the Democratic Party’s top issues Saturday at her first town hall as a member of Congress.

Author: By Jasper Scherer, Staff writer
Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am

A portion of the Houston Ship Channel remained closed Saturday as the U.S. Coast Guard attempts to determine what amount of volatile chemicals have leaked from fire-damaged Intercontinental Terminals Co. tanks into the waterway that serves as an economic engine for the region.

Test results published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Saturday afternoon confirmed what officials feared — that contaminants, including carcinogenic benzene, were found in hazardous concentrations in an ITC drainage ditch that flows into the ship channel.

The Coast Guard has no timetable for when it plans to re-open the closed a 7-mile stretch, home to the second-largest port in the United States, measured by tonnage. What began as a small storage tank chemical fire a week ago now threatens to harm one of Houston’s largest industries.

Jim Kruse, director of the Center for Ports and Waterways at Texas A&M University, said vessels can anticipate bad weather and adjust schedules accordingly. Sudden port closures can quickly bring financial pain to shipping firms. A Texas A&M study of a four-day closure of the entire Ship Channel in 2014, due to a fuel spill, found outgoing vessels suffered $7.3 million in losses.

“It’s a big mess and a serious problem,” Kruse said. “They have to pay extra when they’re sitting at the docks. If they don’t deliver on time, those penalties add up past, to many thousands of dollars.”

Tim Hicks, a Coast Guard Vessel Control watch supervisor, said Saturday evening 25 vessels are stuck in the ship channel, while another 26 await permission to enter. They include cargo ships, as well as gas and chemical tankers of varying sizes.

“I’ve got ships as large as 820 by 144 feet and as...

Author: By Zach Despart, Staff writer
Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am

A pedestrian was killed Saturday morning attempting to cross State Highway 249, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the pedestrian was trying to cross at the 14300 block of State Highway 249 around 2 a.m. when they were struck by a sedan driving outbound.

The pedestrian failed to yield to the sedan, deputies said, and the driver, who was not impaired, was unable to avoid the collision, authorities said.

The driver remained on scene and attempted to render aid, deputies said.

The crash is being investigated by the Harris County Sheriff's Office Vehicular Crimes Division.

Author: By Michael Slaten
Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am

During the 2018 Texas Senate race, Austin resident Michele Schwartz canvassed for Beto O’Rourke and opened a pop-up office for his campaign at her home. A “religious” follower of Pod Save America — a favorite podcast among liberals — the race between O’Rourke and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz presented her with an obvious choice.

On Saturday, though, Schwartz turned out for a rally at Texas Southern University to hear U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, stump to a Houston audience for the first time in her presidential campaign. Already, Schwartz, 50, has soured a bit on O’Rourke, turning instead to her preferred candidate: Harris.

“I'm even less excited about him since his announcement rollout,” she said, donning a black “Kamala” hat. “I just didn't think it was very professionally done, and I think at this stage of our country, we need a candidate who can have the right people behind him and supporting him, or her … because they're going to throw everything they can at this candidate.”

Hardly a week into his campaign, O’Rourke’s prospects in the nascent 2020 Democratic presidential primary may depend on the loyalty of his Texas base at the polls next March, 16 months after his narrow loss to Cruz.

Now with a menu of alternatives, including Democrats who are not white men and those who have embraced the party’s progressive policy planks with greater enthusiasm than O’Rourke, voters are considering candidates such as Harris, who sees an opening in the country’s third most delegate-rich state.

At Harris’ rally, some of the same Democrats who embraced O’Rourke for his slapdash campaign style and freewheeling rhetoric indicated they may be looking for something else in a presidential candidate.

...
Author: By Jasper Scherer, Staff writer
Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am

At least two people were injured when a Metro bus crashed into a building Friday in east Houston.

Author: Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 22, 2019, 8:50 pm

The environmental agency reminded residents that the city doesn't get its drinking water from the Houston Ship Channel or Tucker Bayou.

Author: Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 22, 2019, 6:56 pm

You don't have to be a billionaire to afford a panic room.

Author: Marcy de Luna, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 22, 2019, 6:09 pm

Detectives are searching for suspects accused of robbing three people outside the Baybrook Mall in about 40 minutes.

Author: Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle
Posted: March 22, 2019, 6:08 pm

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