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The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has been designated one of seven law enforcement agencies in the nation that are top finishers as “Best for Vets” in 2015.

The honor is bestowed by Military Times, an organization that comprises the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times independent newspapers.

The title goes to agencies that best “focus on culture and policies that cater to military veterans” who are employees, according to Military Times.

The HCSO is the only Texas agency on the list.

The designation is based on more than 90 survey questions posed to law enforcement agencies around the U.S. about their efforts to connect with military veterans as current and potential employees and to provide an environment for success.

This is the second consecutive year in which the HCSO has earned a “Best for Vets” label. Twenty four agencies are the on the list for 2015, and this time the HCSO is listed among the seven most superior.

The HCSO staffs a military liaison office for employees who served in the military and gives preferential treatment to military veterans who apply for jobs at www.hcsojobs.com

“I’m proud of people who serve or served in the military, and I thank them for safeguarding our nation,” Sheriff Adrian Garcia said. “I’m also proud and thankful for the military veterans who put their skills to great use as deputies, detention officers, medical personnel and other civilian jobs at the HCSO. Their military experience goes a long way toward providing public safety for the residents of Harris County.”

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One Houston City Councilman says he hopes you show up in large numbers Tuesday to express the same outrage he has.

Michael Kubosh says every Houstonian should be angry because there are more than 120 cars sitting at the bottom of Houston area bayous.

Kubosh says those vehicles were likely used in crimes but the Houston Police Department has decided not to disturb the vehicles.

John Cannon with HPD says the vehicles won’t likely solve any crimes and are too dangerous to move.

Meanwhile, Kubosh will bring the issue up at City Council Tuesday at 1:30 pm.

He says anyone who wants to express their disappointment in HPD should attend the public session where you can freely give your opinion.

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Today, the FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2013, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s first publication to present data collected under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009. Accordingly, the bias categories of gender (male and female) and gender identity (transgender and gender nonconforming) have been added to the other bias categories of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

Other new aspects of the report include the presentation of age categories to indicate whether hate crimes were committed by or directed toward juveniles. In addition, the data for the 2013 report were collected and published in accordance with the U.S. Government, Office of Management and Budget’s revised categories for race and ethnicity, as well as the FBI UCR Program’s revised definition of rape in the Summary Reporting System.

Hate Crime Statistics, 2013 includes data about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. However, the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports. Highlights of Hate Crime Statistics, 2013 follow.

Law enforcement agencies reported 5,928 criminal incidents involving 6,933 offenses as being motivated by a bias toward a particular race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity in 2013.There were 5,922 single-bias incidents involving 7,230 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type showed that 49.3 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ racial bias, 20.2 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias, 16.9 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, and 11.4 percent were victimized due to ethnicity bias. Victims targeted because of the offenders’ bias against disabilities accounted for 1.4 percent of victims of single-bias incidents; gender identity, 0.5 percent; and gender, 0.4 percent.There were 6 multiple-bias hate crime incidents involving 12 victims.Of the 4,430 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2013, intimidation accounted for 43.5 percent, simple assault accounted for 38.8 percent, and aggravated assault for 16.6 percent. Five murders and 21 rapes (15 from agencies that collected data using the revised rape definition and 6 from agencies that used the legacy definition) were reported as hate crimes.Beginning with the 2013 data collection, the UCR Program’s revised definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”There were 2,424 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (73.6 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 26.4 percent of crimes against property.In the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement officers could also report whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as the suspect’s ethnicity when possible.Of the 5,814 known offenders, 52.4 percent were white, and 24.3 percent were black or African American. The race was unknown for 14.8 percent. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 0.8 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; 0.7 percent were Asian; 0.1 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; and 7.0 percent were of a group of multiple races.Of the 2,527 offenders for whom ages were known, 68.0 percent were 18 years of age or older.Of the 368 offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 54.1 percent were not Hispanic or Latino, 6.3 percent were in a group of multiple ethnicities, and 3.3 percent were Hispanic or Latino. Ethnicity was unknown for 36.4 percent of these offenders.Most hate crime incidents (31.5 percent) occurred in or near residences/homes. More than 18 percent (18.1) occurred on highways/roads/alleys/streets/sidewalks; 8.3 percent occurred at schools/colleges; 5.7 percent happened at parking/drop lots/garages; and 3.5 percent took place in churches/synagogues/temples/mosques. The location was considered other/unknown for 13.2 percent of hate crime incidents. The remainder of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.

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University of Houston head football coach Tony Levine has been relieved of his duties after three years with the Cougars, Houston Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Monday morning.

A national search for Houston’s 14th head coach is now underway while defensive coordinator David Gibbs will serve as the program’s interim head coach until a replacement is hired. Houston is slated to face Pitt in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2 in Fort Worth.

“Coach Levine and I met several times throughout the season, and again late last night, to discuss the state of the program. Last night I informed him we will be moving in a different direction with our football program,” said Rhoades. “Coach Levine is an outstanding leader and over the last three years he has demonstrated great commitment to our student-athletes and has been an outstanding role model for our young men. He has left the program in a better situation than it was when he inherited it.

“Although we are excited to play in our second straight bowl game, the expectations of our program have changed over the last five years with the opening of TDECU Stadium and the current college football landscape. At this time we will begin the search process for the 14th head coach in Houston Football history and will not comment further until the search is concluded.”

In its three years under Levine, Houston finished 21-17 including 14-10 conference mark in Conference USA his first season and the American Athletic Conference the latter two seasons. Houston finished its inaugural season in The American in fourth place with a record of 5-3 before finishing fifth with an identical record in this year’s revamped league.

Under Levine, Houston advanced to back-to-back bowl games in the 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Vanderbilt and the 2015 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Pitt. Academic standards in the program have recently reached an all-time high with the program’s best-ever cumulative GPA following a fall semester posted following the 2013 season.

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Dozens of people walked away with awards Saturday night for the senior holiday gala in Sharpstown.

It was sponsored by the Houston Parks Department under the leadership of Debra Lathan.

The purpose of the event was to honor the dozens of senior line dancers in the community.

The program of group dancing was designed to keep senior citizens at local community centers involved and active.

Those who have played a vital role in organizing and participating the line dance troops were honored Saturday night at the Sharpstown Community Center.

I had a chance to serve as the emcee for the big event.

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The family is identified as being Donald Brian Winberg 43 yoa and Karlien Richel Winberg 33 and their 7 children of Amarillo, Texas area. The Winberg’s were identified through investigative means  with the assistance of the news media .  After their sailboat ran aground near San Leon on October the 29th of this year.

After this story was scene by authorities in Colorado, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from The FBI in Denver, Colorado, telling us that this family maybe a family they have been investigating for Wire Fraud. The FBI sent  Sergeant Louis Trochesset of the Galveston Sheriff’s Office Marine Division the Winberg’s photographs, he was able to identify them as the mystery family. The Winberg’s have been fleeing apprehension since April of this year using many alias names.

It is believed that the Winberg’s are attempting to flee the country, possibly to Mexico. The FBI and Sheriff’s Office are also concerned for the safety and wellbing of the 7 children travelling with their parents. The Winberg’s were last seen travelling in a 2004 Nissan SUV dark Grey bearing Texas CVP-3691.

Anyone with any information on the location of the Winberg’s are asked to contact any local office of the FBI or the Galveston County Sheriff’s office at 409-770-6084.

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It was a who’s who list at the big celebration thrown every year by the Kubosh family.

This year brothers Paul and Michael Kubosh held their annual Christmas celebration at Kim Son in downtown Houston.

Dozens of people attended the event who had a chance to dine on Chinese cuisine and free flowing drinks.

Several members of Houston’s City Council attended along with members of the city’s religious community.

Mayor Parker even made and appearance along with officials from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped and the event Friday night!

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Sources tell the Factor potentially thousands of dollars in light rail equipment may havr been stolen from Metro’s Rail Operations Center on Fannin near 610.

Those familiar with the investigation say several employees could be involved with the theft that even includes stolen rail car wheels.

Metro confirms the theft and issued this statement:

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“The METRO Police Department is currently investigating allegations of supplies stolen from our Rail Operations Center.   An employee at the facility has been suspended pending further review. At this time we do not have an estimate of the total costs associated with the alleged theft.”

Chief Vera Bumpers

METRO Police

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By: Mary Benton

Project Row Houses Founder Rick Lowe was feted Monday night by some of Houston’s prominent community leaders.

Lester and Dr. Penelope Marks opened the doors to their art filled West University area home to co-host a reception along with Mayor Annise Parker, Jonathon Gus and Cindy Clifford in honor  of Lowe. 

The acclaimed artist was recently named a MacArthur Fellow, commonly known as a Genius Grant.

It is a huge honor for Lowe and the City of Houston.

In bestowing the honor to Lowe, the MacArthur Foundation      
described him as “an artist whose unconventional approach to community revitalization has transformed a long-neglected neighborhood in Houston into a visionary public art project that continues to evolve, two decades since its inception.”

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The wait is finally over and now we have an official date to throw out all of those other donuts.

A check of Krispy Kreme’s website shows a grand opening in Houston.

The site also shows it will be February 17, 2015 on Highway 6.

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There’s also a second location slated for Houston but the details on that store have not been released.

KK hasn’t had a presence in Houston since a lawsuit forced the donut company out back in 2006.

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The Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School
(MCLIMS) will break ground for its new school building on Saturday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the Galleria area (5440 W. Alabama
Houston, TX 77056.)
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The building will be a first for the Houston Independent School District and the State of Texas. MCLIMS is the district’s first dual language immersion school, and is the state’s first Mandarin Chinese language immersion school.

The 118,000-square-foot building is part of HISD’s 2012 bond program and is designedto provide a 21st century learning environment with state-of-the-art technology. It will feature flexible learning spaces and is built around a three-story, light-filled learning commons. The new building will accommodate the growth of the program to become a Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade campus.  The groundbreaking ceremony will include a traditional Dragon Dance from the MCLIMS PTO, a student performance in Mandarin Chinese, and participation from local civic leaders.

www.mclims.org