Mayors Say Federal Help Has Been Slow To Reach Smaller Cities Hit By Harvey

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 19, 2017 8:56 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Mayors of some smaller, coastal cities hit by Harvey are concerned they’re getting left behind when it comes to federal help.

The mayors of Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca said they’re still waiting on aid from the federal government. And they fear they’ll be left on their own for a years-long recovery process.

Mayor Charles Bujan, for one, is worried Port Aransas won’t get all the money it was promised.

“The pot is only so deep and we’ve had so many disasters here lately that you can only drain it so far,” Bujan says.

The mayors spoke at an event the Texas Tribune hosted Tuesday. They added that the state has generally been faster and more helpful than the feds in the weeks following Harvey.

Harris County is opening a new school designed to help kids stay sober after leaving rehab.

Houston Public Media’s Davis Land reports.

A school that helps students struggling with addiction isn’t new – there are many throughout the country – but most are private. Harris County’s new Fortis Academy is one of a handful to be formed as a fully “public” school.

“There’s only seven public ones in the entire United States and two of them are in the state of Texas,” sais Harris County Department of Education Superintendent James Colbert.

He hopes that Fortis will allow students from low-income backgrounds to access a resource normally reserved for those with the ability to pay for an expensive tuition.

Colbert says the school is for recovery, not punishment, so students will work with addiction counselors and participate in culinary arts classes and a ropes course to keep them active.

“We know that our kids are kinesthetic learners. I mean they need to be active, they cannot sit in a room all day when they’re struggling with the issues of addiction,” he says.

Colbert says the school will be funded with subsidies from property tax and money from the school districts that send students to Fortis.

The Collin County Sheriff’s Office is throwing in the towel when it comes to photos of inmates. Literally!

Here’s KETR’s Scott Morgan with more.

For the past 20 years, inmates photographed at the Collin County Detention Facility had to drape a towel around their shoulders before the shutter snapped. The measure was a way to hide distinguishing marks – tattoos, birthmarks, or anything else – below the neck.

But the sheriff’s office has officially ended the practice, opting instead to use technology. Capt. Jim Moody said his agency now will exclusively use software to digitally hide distinguishing marks below the chin. Moody called the practice of using the towel antiquated, saying the practice probably should have ended 15 years ago.

Not everyone is happy to see the towel discontinued, though. The sheriff’s office originally announced the move away from the towel on its Facebook page. More than a few people commented that they would be sorry to see the towel go. It was considered iconic, as everyone knew where their mugshots were taken. The sheriff’s office official disagrees.