News Roundup: El Paso Shelter Director Condemns Unexpected Release Of Migrants

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 28, 2018 1:06 pm

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

The head of an El Paso shelter says the release of more than a thousand migrants directly to the streets earlier this week was “unacceptable.”

It began with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropping 214 people off at a downtown bus station Sunday night.

ICE did not give Annunciation House a heads up, even though the agency has worked with the shelter over the last five years to help house asylum seekers.

Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia said at a Thursday press conference they have 15 hospitality sites in El Paso, including four hotels, to address the influx of migrants.

“Next week there’s two or three more churches that are going to activate, right now we’re making use of these hotels,” Garcia said. “Someone asked what is the expense that we’re looking at? The hotels alone are, the four of them combined together, is in the 150-thousand dollars per month that it’s taking to do that.”

There are another five hospitality sites in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Garcia says, so far, donations have helped cover the cost of hotel stays for migrants.

We’re just a couple of days away from 2019. If you’re hoping to ring in the New Year with fireworks, a lot depends on where you live. In Houston for example, the rules around fireworks can vary.

Houston Public Media’s Gail Delaughter has details.

While fireworks are banned in the City of Houston, they are legal in much of unincorporated Harris County. But Rachel Moreno with the County Fire Marshal’s office says there are some restrictions.

“You can’t use fireworks within 600 feet of a church, hospital, vet clinic, day care center, or school.  And you have to be 100 feet away from a gas station, or a place that sells fireworks,” Moreno says.

Moreno adds that depending on where you are, there could be further restrictions.

“Just because you’re in Harris County, unincorporated Harris County, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to shoot them in your neighborhood. Your homeowners association may have established some rules that say you can’t shoot them in your neighborhood,” Moreno says.

And when using fireworks, Moreno reminds New Year’s revelers to carefully follow all instructions, and never let children handle any fireworks.

The Texas Panhandle is getting some more snow this weekend.

Dr. Stephan Bida is with the National Weather Service office in Amarillo.

“Old man winter came in to make a visit and he’s here to stick around with another round of snow on Friday and Saturday,” Bida says.

Bida says Amarillo is expected to get one to two inches of snow but that could, of course, change.

“What really makes these forecasts difficult for us is we get these things called snow banding that sets up, it’s sort of like a thunderstorm, but not really,” Bida says. “Sometimes you get lightning with these types of features, where you get thunder-snow in the area, and what really this mean, is it’s basically a heavier band of snow shower that can produce up to 2-3 inches of snow per hour.”

That’s right … thundersnow. Before Friday’s snowfall, Amarillo has already gotten 4.4 inches of snow this season. Before that, the last time the area had gotten any measurable snowfall was April of 2017.