News Roundup: At Local Home Improvement Stores, FEMA Offers Free Advice To Flooded Homeowners

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 9, 2018 2:06 pm

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

More than seven months after Harvey, thousands of Texans are still living in transitional housing as they rebuild their homes.

Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin has the details.

After FEMA’s latest reevaluation last week, more than 4,400 Texas households are still in hotels and motels. To help with the repair of their houses, FEMA is partnering with home improvement stores to offer resources and advice to homeowners. Tobe Nguyen is with the agency. He says mitigation specialists have been traveling to different stores since January.

“They’re not there to recommend any kind of particular branding or any kind of contractors or anything like that,” Nguyen says. “They’re just there to provide free advice on what you could do to mitigate and to better prepare your house for the next time.”

This week, through Thursday, the specialists will be at home improvement stores in Harris, Fort Bend, Aransas and Jefferson counties. Those staying in transitional housing have until April 23 to get their homes back in shape.

Nguyen says it’s not clear at this point whether there will be another extension.

Several groups are suing Galveston County over its cash bail system. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the national ACLU, and the law firm of Arnold & Porter filed a federal class-action lawsuit over the weekend.

They claim the county’s bail system violates the constitutional rights of poorer defendants. That’s because those who can’t afford to make bail are detained for a week or longer, while those who can pay – but face the same charges – are freed until trial.

This is the latest attempt from the ACLU of Texas to change wealth-based bail practices within the state. The organization sued Dallas County earlier this year over a similar system.

The lawsuits come in the aftermath of a 2017 ruling that found Harris County’s cash bail system unconstitutional. A federal judge in Houston struck down the system for people charged with low-level crimes, ruling it was unfair to indigent residents.

Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of that ruling.

A Texan topped the 2018 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia on Sunday – San Antonio native Patrick Reed. It’s also the first major championship Reed has won.

Reed told ESPN what it meant to receive the green jacket given to each Masters winner.

“It means everything,” Reed says. “I mean the elites that have the jacket and just the company that you’re around, and just what the green jacket symbolizes in golf, is just, it’s the top, it’s every kids dream.”

Another Texas golfer wasn’t too far behind Reed – Jordan Spieth of Dallas came in third.