Monthly Archives: September 2013

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A grassroots organization is hoping to put enough pressure on Senator John Cornyn until he supports a Conservative lawmaker.

Tuesday afternoon Freedomworks, a Conservative organization, kicked off a campaign to get Cornyn to support Senator Ted Cruz in his effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Cornyn has made it clear he would not support Cruz’s filibuster in the US Senate.

That prompted Freedomworks to tell its supporters to Tweet and call Seantor Cornyn until he stands behind Cruz’s effort to kill what they call Obamacare.

BUSTED FOR COUNTERFEIT VIAGRA AND CIALIS!

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Mohammad Jamal Rashid, 45, a legal permanent resident from Pakistan residing in Houston, has been arrested following the return of a seven-count indictment involving counterfeit Viagra® and Cialis® products, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Kansas City Field Office. 

The indictment, returned Sept, 12, 2013, was unsealed todayupon his arrest. Rashid made his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith at which time he was permitted release upon posting bond.  “Today’s arrest demonstrates the continued commitment by the FDA-OCI and its law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those allegedly involved in the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals,” said Holland. “Those ultimately convicted of such crimes are often motivated by greed and prey upon an unsuspecting public with no regard for public safety.” 

The indictment charges Rashid with conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit and misbranded Viagra® and Cialis® pills, introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and smuggling. Rashid allegedly conspired with others to import counterfeit and misbranded Viagra® and counterfeit and misbranded Cialis® to his home in Houston.

The indictment alleges Rashid received a package containing approximately 3,200 counterfeit Viagra® and approximately 4,000 counterfeit Cialis® drugs. According to the indictment, Rashid accepted delivery and took possession of a package containing the counterfeit drugs which were addressed to Rashid’s home, under another person’s name on Jan. 26, 2012.

The indictment further alleges Rashid delivered a package of counterfeit drugs to another individual on that same day. The possible punishment for a conviction of trafficking in counterfeit goods is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than $2 million. He further faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of smuggling as well as another five years and $250,000 fine for the conspiracy, upon conviction.

For introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, the possible punishment is up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the FDA-OCI. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case. 

TEXAS ALERTS IS NOW ON TWITTER TO HELP WITH THE MISSING!

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We are pleased to announce that the Texas Department of Public (DPS) today launched the Texas Alerts Twitter account (@TX_Alerts) to increase our ability to reach members of the public and media when issuing an AMBER, Blue, Silver and Endangered Missing Persons Alert.

 

@TX_Alerts will be managed by the State Operations Center at DPS, and although it is an experimental account at this stage, we encourage Texans to take advantage of Twitter’s instant visibility by following @TX_Alerts, and Retweeting these time-sensitive and potentially life-saving alerts.

 

IS IT TIME TO SPRUCE UP YOUR CRIB?

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The best home remodeling and renovation guy I swear by…Marcel Lavan….if you’re in the market for something to be done to yo crib…Oh, and he’s honest too! (832) 640-4237

HELP REBUILD THE LIFE CENTER!

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Pastor James Winston

The Life Center is in need of your help.

The facility that provides temporary shelter for the homeless has been infested by bed bugs.

They’re asking the public to volunteer physically this (9/29/13) Saturday at 8 am to help install drywall and clean up.

The organization also needs monitary donations to replace many of the beds and other items they had to destroy because of the bed bugs.

If you can help contact Pastor James Winston at the Life Center on Old Yale Road in Houston!

4516 Old Yale St.
713-750-9565
832-292-3295
www.lifecenterhouston.com

HALLIBURTON ADMITS GUILTY IN BP OIL SPILL!

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Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (Halliburton) pleaded guilty today to destroying evidence pertaining to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and was sentenced to the statutory maximum fine, the Justice Department announced.In addition, a criminal information was filed today charging a former Halliburton manager, Anthony Badalamenti, 61, of Katy, Texas, with one count of destruction of evidence.“These announcements mark the latest steps forward in the Justice Department’s efforts to achieve justice on behalf of all those affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, oil spill, and environmental disaster,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Halliburton and one of its managers have now been held criminally accountable for their misconduct, underscoring our continued commitment to ensuring that the victims of this tragedy obtain justice and to safeguarding the integrity of relevant evidence. I am grateful to all of the Justice Department leaders, federal investigative agency partners, and state and local allies whose tireless work made this outcome possible—and whose daily efforts will help to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.”“Halliburton destroyed evidence during the investigation of the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, and now both the company and the Halliburton manager who ordered the destruction are being held to account,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Criminal Division. “I am grateful for the tenacious work of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force prosecutors and investigators who have worked tirelessly on this and other Deepwater Horizon matters to ensure that justice is brought to the people of the Gulf Coast and to the families of the 11 men who perished on April 20, 2010.”Halliburton’s guilty plea was accepted and its sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana. During the guilty plea and sentencing proceeding today, Judge Milazzo found, among other things, that the sentence appropriately reflects Halliburton’s offense conduct. Judge Milazzo also noted that the statutory maximum fine and three-year probationary period provide just punishment and appropriate deterrence and noted Halliburton’s self-reporting of the misconduct, substantial and valuable cooperation in the government’s investigation, and substantial efforts to recover the deleted data.According to court documents, on April 20, 2010, while stationed at the Macondo well site in the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon rig experienced an uncontrolled blowout and related explosions and fire, which resulted in the deaths of 11 rig workers and the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Following the blowout, Halliburton conducted its own review of various technical aspects of the well’s design and construction. On or about May 3, 2010, Halliburton established an internal working group to examine the Macondo well blowout, including whether the number of centralizers used on the final production casing could have contributed to the blowout. A production casing is a long, heavy metal pipe set across the area of the oil and natural gas reservoir. Centralizers are metal devices that protrude from various intervals of the casing strings of a well, which can help keep the casing centered in the wellbore away from the surrounding walls as it is lowered and placed in the well. Centralization can be significant to the quality of subsequent cementing around the bottom of the casing. Prior to the blowout, Halliburton had recommended to BP the use of 21 centralizers in the Macondo well. BP opted to use six centralizers instead.As detailed variously in the charging instruments filed against Halliburton and against Badalamenti, during the relevant time period Badalamenti was Halliburton’s cementing technology director. In May 2010, in connection with Halliburton’s internal post-incident examination of the Macondo well, Badalamenti directed a senior program manager for Halliburton’s Cement Product Line (program manager) to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well final cementing job using Halliburton’s Displace 3D simulation program. Displace 3D was a next-generation simulation program that was being developed to model fluid interfaces and their movement through the wellbore and annulus of a well. The modeling sought to compare the 21 centralizers Halliburton had recommended to BP versus the six centralizers BP ultimately used. As detailed in the charging documents, the simulations indicated to those present that there was little difference between using six and 21 centralizers on the Macondo well. Badalamenti directed program manager to destroy these results, and program manager did so.In or about June 2010, similar evidence was also destroyed in a later incident. Badalamenti asked another, more experienced employee (“Employee 1”) to run simulations again comparing six versus 21 centralizers. Employee 1 reached the same conclusion. Badalamenti then directed Employee 1 to “get rid of” the simulations, and, after a period of delay, Employee 1 deleted them from his computer.Efforts to forensically recover the original destroyed Displace 3D computer simulations during ensuing civil litigation and federal criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force were unsuccessful.Halliburton’s guilty plea and sentence, and the criminal charge announced today against Badalamenti, are part of the ongoing criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force into matters related to the April 2010 Gulf oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon Task Force, based in New Orleans, is supervised by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman and led by John D. Buretta, who serves as the director of the task force. The task force includes prosecutors from the Criminal Division and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and other U.S. Attorney’s Offices; and investigating agents from the FBI; Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General; Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.The case is being prosecuted by Deepwater Horizon Task Force Director Buretta, Deputy Director William Pericak, and Task Force prosecutors Richard R. Pickens, II, Scott M. Cullen, Colin Black, and Rohan Virginkar.An information is merely a charge, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

HOUSTON’S GROWING MOTOR POOL PROGRAM!

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The Fleet Management Department has announced that its FleetShare program has expanded to its second location. The program first launched with shared pool vehicles in the Theater District’s Tranquility Garage and has recently expanded to the City Hall Annex Garage.In July 2012, the City of Houston launched a new municipal fleet sharing program called Houston FleetShare with partner Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car sharing network.  Through this program, 50 City-owned fleet vehicles – including 25 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles (EVs) and other plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles – were outfitted with Zipcar’s proprietary car sharing technology for use by city employees across numerous departments.“Zipcar is very excited to continue the successful relationship with the City of Houston to bring vehicle efficiency to City employees.” said Michael Serafino, Zipcar Vice President of Sales and Market Development.Six electric vehicle charging stations were installed in the City Hall Annex Garage allowing for both EVs and hybrid vehicles to be made available at this location.The expansion of the program to City Hall Annex is the result of a 72% increase of enrolled participants, representing over 7,000 reservations.The move to a large shared pool of City vehicles is to maximize the efficiency of City resources. “Small individual pools of vehicles have a lot of down time and then tend to be needed all at once,” said Jedediah Greenfield, Fleet Managements’ public information officer. “With a larger shared city vehicle pool, we can ensure our vehicles are being used efficiently through closely monitoring utilization and streamlining their operation which ultimately results in better service to our citizens.”#### 

IT’S THE FOOTBALL COACH AT WESTFIELD HIGH!

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Shea McCutchen:

A message from WESTFIELD HIGH

Good Morning Westfield parents.

This is Principal Steve Kinney with additional information regarding the employee who was under investigation.
In an earlier message, I let you know that a Westfield employee was on administrative leave while the Spring ISD Police investigated an allegation of improper relationship between the employee and a female student. Today, Sept. 19, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office accepted charges of Improper Relationship Educator and Student against Shea McCutchen, a football coach and health teacher at Westfield High School. McCutchen was placed on administrative leave July 9 while the investigation was being conducted. McCutchen has been employed at Westfield since 2004.
I want to assure you that the safety of our students is of the highest importance at Westfield High School. The criminal history and references of job applicants are routinely checked before they are hired.
The Westfield administration takes every allegation seriously, a thorough investigation will be conducted by Spring ISD Police, and inappropriate behavior will be exposed when warranted. Please speak to your children and remind them to always report to you or other proper officials, such as a school administrator or the Spring ISD Police, any time they feel threatened or compromised by anyone. In addition, we have numerous systems in place for reporting inappropriate activity, including the anonymous Let’s Talk About It system and Crimestoppers, which both have links located on the Westfield Website homepage.
As always, if you have concerns, please call the Westfield Administration at 281-891-7133.
This e-mail has been sent to you by WESTFIELD HIGH. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform WESTFIELD HIGH either IN PERSON, by US MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at 281-891-7130.

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Fox 26 news and the Factor have learned an adult staffer at Westfield High School is the subject of an internal and criminal investigation.

The teacher is – you guessed it – accused of an inapprooriate relationship with a student.

Parents at the Spring ISD school were notified by the district Wednesday.

Here’s a look at that letter:

Good Evening Westfield Parents.
This is Principal Steve Kinney.
In an effort to keep you informed, I am calling to share some important information.

The Spring ISD Police Department has been investigating an allegation against a Westfield High School employee regarding an improper relationship between an educator and student. The employee has been on administrative leave since July 9. The Spring ISD Police Department is working with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office on the investigation. Charges are pending, and we will update you when we have more information.

This e-mail has been sent to you by WESTFIELD HIGH. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message.

If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform WESTFIELD HIGH either IN PERSON, by US MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at 281-891-7130.

MAYOR ANNISE PARKER KICKS OFF THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING!

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Mayor Annise Parker today kicked off Mayors United Against Texting While Driving, a social media campaign challenging all Texans to take the pledge to not text and drive.  In partnership with AT&T, Mayor Parker and the City of Houston launched the nation’s first citywide It Can Wait campaign last April. Mayors United Against Texting While Driving will expand what Houston started all across Texas. 

“Texting while driving – especially among teens – has turned into a serious issue that has claimed lives across the nation,” said Mayor Parker. “We can’t stand by and let this fatal practice claim another life. This is why we have stood at the forefront of this movement and are joining forces with mayors across Texas to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. I encourage every Texan to take the pledge to never text and drive.”The Mayors United Against Texting While Driving campaign will run in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso September 19 through September 30, with each city vying to get as many citizens as they can pledging to never text while driving. Each city will have its own city-specific texting code.  Houston residents can take the pledge by texting “ItcanwaitHou” to 464329. “We work every day to spread the word about how fatal a single text can be. Mayors United Against Texting While Driving is a significant step toward our goal to make texting while driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving,” said Alice Aanstoos, AT&T Regional Vice President . “We are excited to partner with Houston in our battle to put a stop to texting while driving and make the roads safer for Texans.”Mayors United Against Texting While Driving is being launched in association with the It Can Wait movement’s September 19 Drive 4 Pledges Day. Aspiring to create a social stigma around this fatal habit of texting while driving, Drive 4 Pledges Day focuses on getting individuals to take the pledge to never text and drive, while encouraging others in their community to do the same.

HELP FOR VETERANS IN OUR COMMUNITY!

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Houston VA Hosts 13th Annual Stand Down

for Homeless Veterans

 

WHEN:         Friday, September 20, 2013, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

                       11:30 a.m., Opening Ceremonies

                             

WHERE:       Emancipation Park Community Center

                      3018 Dowling Street, Houston, Texas  77004

 

WHAT:         The 13th Annual Stand Down is an opportunity for homeless Veterans, and those at risk, to access a broad spectrum of services at one convenient location and to create a plan to transition out of homelessness permanently. The event brings a wide range of specialized resources together to provide homeless Veterans with comprehensive medical and psychosocial services. It also offers programs specific to women and Veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

“Stand Down” is military terminology referring to the brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. 

 

BACKGROUND:

                   

In 2009, VA set a goal of ending homelessness among Veterans by 2015. Here in Houston, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is doing its part through partnerships with city, state and federal agencies, a wide-array of programs and services, and through this annual Stand Down.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.  Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans.

 

More information about VA’s homeless programs in Houston is available at http://www.houston.va.gov/Homeless_Programs.asp. 

 

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Letters have gone out to supporters of the Fifth Ward Enrichment program and it’s not good news.

The letter indicates because of financial problems officials with the 30 year old program will have to evaluate the future.

Some of the options are merging with another program, sponsorships, or shutting it down.

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Here’s more about the Houston staple:

The Fifth Ward Enrichment Program Incorporated (FWEP) is a youth leadership and development program for at-risk males, ages 12 – 19, located in one of Houston ‘s most economically depressed neighborhoods.
 
FWEP’s core program ‘The School-Based Projects’ truly defines the holistic approach to youth development that FWEP embraces. This project is housed in five schools in the Houston Independent School District ‘s (HISD) Northeast District and provides site- coordinators who monitor school activities, interact with teachers and administrators, and coordinate daily, after-school activities. The site-coordinators are responsible for the delivery of the life skills curriculum, home visits, and individual/group counseling sessions. The site coordinator is recognized by the school’s youth as their mentor “on campus”.