Statement from Russell Simmons, co-founder of RushCard:
On October 12, 2015, from the moment we first learned about problems affecting our customers as the result of our transition to a new payment processor, Rushcard and I personally have been singularly focused on two things: fixing the problem and completely restoring customer access to their accounts and money.
Although, today, a small fraction of our customers are currently experiencing ongoing issues, we will not rest until we have resolved any and all issues caused by the original system outage.
The overwhelming majority of customer inquiries are no longer related directly to any ongoing system problems, but to questions about direct deposits that were previously halted by employers or about instructions on how to reset their accounts. In addition, many callers are understandably looking for reassurance that their deposits will occur on time this week.
In response to our customers needs, we have tripled our call center capabilities and continue to respond directly to customer inquiries we receive over the phone and through social media.
RushCard and I have always been committed to serving our customers with effective and reliable products and services. We realize that we did not live up to those high standards over the past two weeks, which is why we are committed to doing the right thing and learning from this experience, so we can restore trust with our current and future customers.
Some Houston taxi cab drivers may get a chance to compete in this brave new world of Uber. The Houston City Council approved a new pilot program that would provide local drivers with 25 permits to operate on their own without a middle man like Yellow Cab. Drivers like Joshua Bullard say they’ve lost 30% of the cab operators in Houston after Uber was allowed to operate in the city. Bullard said it was hard to compete when there’s so much overhead. There’s no word how soon the 25 permits will be issued to driver and who will get them.
Council Agenda Item:
ORDINANCE adopting a revised Taxicab Permit Distribution Process for 2015, relating to the issuance of 25 Taxicab Permits
On Friday, October 30th, 2015, Ronald Hicks, age 63, was found guilty by a jury of aggravated sexual assualt of a child charges. The jury also sentenced the defendant to the maximum sentence and fine on each of the 6 counts, including a Life sentence on four of the counts. The defendant is not eligible for parole on one of those charges. 221st District Court Judge Lisa Michalk granted the prosecutors request to stack the sentences.
This case was tried by prosecutors Nancy Hebert and Rochelle Guiton of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and investigated by Detective Melanie Bivens of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecutors and detective are part of the Special Victims Division – Crimes Against Children located at Children’s Safe Harbor in Conroe. Safe Harbor, a non-profit organization, interviews potential child abuse victims and provides free counseling services for children who outcry to abuse.
Hicks was charged with child sexual abuse with two counts of each, totaling six counts: Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child; Indecency by Contact with a Child; and Indecency by Exposure with a Child. The punishment ranges were enhanced due to the defendant’s prior felony conviction of possession of a controlled substance from 2007. Along with the sexual assault charges, Hicks was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Marihuana when the drugs were found while searching his home during this sexual assault investigation.
The trial began Monday, October 26, 2015. While most cases of child sexual abuse involve a family member, this defendant was a close family friend of the victims. The jury learned that the defendant digitally penetrated the sexual organ of two small children, among other sexual contacts with these children. The jury also heard testimony that Hicks had sexually assaulted a fifteen year old girl back in 2003. The girl was now 27 years old and testified about the details of how Hicks abused her as a child. The Defendant testified, but, continued to blame everything on other people and never took responsibility for his actions.
Nancy Hebert (Special Victims Divison Chief): “Once again, the citizens of Montgomery County stand up and protect the most vulnerable members of our society – our children.”
Brett Ligon (District Attorney): “I cannot express enough gratitude to the jurors who tackle these difficult cases. I applaud their courage to give a sentence that sends a strong message to those who prey on children – not in our county.”
With the new Texas Open Carry law going into effect on January 1, 2016, the Houston Police Department is hosting an informational meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (November 4) to answer citizen questions about the new law.
The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Learning Development Center at 4501 Leeland. Free parking is available on site.
HPD Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. speaks on the goals of this meeting on the HPD YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtK86podNZw.
Chief McClelland will be joined by City Attorney Donna Edmundson and Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson in a panel discussion about the new law.
The Open Carry law will allow a license holder to “open carry” a holstered handgun.
HPD will live-stream the meeting on the HPD YouTube channel.
For more information, contact the HPD Public Affairs Office at 713-308-3200 or go to the HPD website to view and print a flyer on the meeting at http://www.houstontx.gov/police/pdfs/Open-Carry-Info-Flyer.pdf
Shopping carts + Houston = the Wild West. You see abandoned carts at bus stops, in your neighborhood, and even in our Bayous! These carts aren’t cheap either, costing retailers $100-$400 to replace. As you can imagine, these costs are passed on to the customer. Reducing cart abandonment is a win-win for all Houstonians.
At the beginning of November, an abandoned shopping cart retrieval pilot program will begin in District J. The program will last for 90 days, after which the results will be reviewed with industry stakeholders and the community.
This initiative is being undertaken with the goal of creating a city ordinance that would address retrieval of abandoned shopping carts.
The program is being funded by the District J Council District Service Fund. Stay tuned for more details and results! By undertaking initiatives like this one, we can continue to improve the quality of life for our communities.
The City of Houston Municipal Courts remains open today, Saturday, October 31, 2015; however, those individuals who are scheduled to appear in court and are unable to make a court appearance due to inclement weather will have the opportunity to reset their case(s).
If an individual is scheduled for arraignment (first appearance):
To reschedule a case(s) an individual must appear in person at any Municipal Court location by Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts for hours of operation. *The Herbert W. Gee and Westside locations will accept resets until 9 p.m.
There are various options available online and by mail:
Request a trial setting.Request the Driving Safety Course (DSC) by mail.Submit proof of compliance by mail.Pay fine(s) online.
Visit the court’s website at www.houstontx.gov/courts/forms.html to download the forms needed for each option. We will accept mail postmarked through Tuesday, November 3, 2015, for these requests.
If an individual is scheduled for trial:
Resets will be given in person at all court locations through Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts for hours of operation. *The Herbert W. Gee and Westside locations will accept resets until 9 p.m. Citizens are reminded that payments can be made as follows:
Online at www.houstontx.gov/courts/ticket_payments.htmlWestern Union By Mail (P.O. Box 4996, Houston, Texas 77210-4996)
If individuals fail to reset their case(s) or fail to resolve their case(s) by Tuesday, November 3, 2015, a warrant for their arrest may be issued.
The City of Houston has preliminary reports of two weather-related fatalities overnight. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is investigating and will confirm cause of death, after which details will be released.
METRORail service has been suspended due to heavy rain overnight. We will resme service once water recedes in impacted areas. High water is also affecting METRO bus service in certain locations, causing delays and detours. We will update infornation on social media plaforms and patrons can also call Customer Service at 713-635-4000.