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Capital Highlights – Disaster Declaration Follows Nicholas

Seventeen counties in southeast Texas were declared disaster areas after Hurricane Nicholas hit, dumping more than a foot of rain and cutting power to half a million customers in Texas, according to poweroutage. us. That number had been reduced to around 4,200 on Sunday.

The counties included in Governor Greg Abbott’s statement are Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio and Victoria.

The Texas Department of Insurance has a number of tips for those affected by the storm:

  • Call your insurance company to report the damage.
  • Take photos and videos of the damage. Do not throw anything away until your claims adjuster tells you to.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Remove the standing water. Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out.
  • Keep a list of repairs and keep receipts. Do not make permanent repairs until the claims adjuster notices the damage.

For more information on TDI, visit the website, www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/storms/home-damaged-faq.html.

Haitians flock to Del Rio, causing bridge to close

Thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing political unrest and a severe earthquake flooded Del Rio on the Texas-Mexico border, prompting the city’s mayor to declare a state of emergency and close the bridge with more 15,000 migrants crammed underneath.

US Senator Ted Cruz blamed President Joe Biden for the situation, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Border officials are working to process those who have crossed, while the Biden administration on Saturday ramped up flights to deport migrants to Haiti. Abbott called this a “border crisis” and ordered soldiers from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain a presence around entry points to deter further entry.

Despite the influx of migrants to Del Rio, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said there were 2% fewer overall migrant encounters along the border in August compared to July.

Abbott backed down on an order to close ports of entry along the border, which the state has no legal authority to do, unless it has obtained clearance from customs and the US border protection, according to the Houston Chronicle. The federal government, not the states, has ultimate authority over the country’s borders.

COVID cases drop, but deaths rise

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the state is down about 7% from the previous week, with 111,565 reported by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. However, new deaths increased slightly, with 1,800 reported on Sunday.

The number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas edged down, with the Texas Department of Health Services reporting 12,246 inpatients, down 7.8% from the week former. However, with 3,618 people hospitalized in intensive care unit beds, the total number of available adult intensive care beds has fallen to just 277 statewide, with just 86 pediatric intensive care beds available throughout. the state.

The number of fully vaccinated Texans continues to rise, with 14.46 million reported in the state, according to the DSHS. That’s 49.6% of the state’s total population.

Third extraordinary session focuses on redistribution

The Texas Legislature met on Monday for its third special session focused on redistributing the political boundaries of the House and Senate districts, as well as the seats in the State Congress and the Board of Education of the state.

Before the session began, Senate districts proposed by Republican leaders drew fire from across the aisle, according to the Texas Tribune.

State Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston proposed a map that redraws two districts – hers and that of Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, to include comfortable majorities of voters who supported Donald Trump in 2020. Both districts saw voters narrowly favor Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

State Senator Beverly Powell, D-Burleson, said the reconfigured map gives Republicans in her district an unfair advantage. “The proposed card for the State Senate is a direct attack on the voting rights of minority citizens in Senate District 10 and, if passed, it would be an act of intentional discrimination,” she said. in a press release.

The redistribution promises to be a fierce battle, like every 10 years.

Up to $ 5 million for rural hospitals

Rural Texas hospitals are expected to receive up to $ 5 million in federal funding to help underserved Texans, the Health and Human Services Commission announced last week.

“As we strive to address health disparities statewide, this funding will help remove barriers to accessing care while connecting rural Texans with health care providers in a way. creatively and improving overall health outcomes within their communities, ”said Trey Wood of HHSC.

Funding comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Texas is one of four recipients of grants, designed to “close health disparities, improve health outcomes and meet the unique needs of Texans living in rural areas using telemedicine,” according to the HHSC.

Texas horned lizard returns with coalition help

A coalition of zoos and wildlife scientists have released 204 captive-bred hatchlings of the once ubiquitous Texas Horned Lizard, more commonly known as the Horned Toad, into the wild. New evidence indicates that the previously released lizards are breeding successfully, according to a press release from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The horned lizard is one of 1,300 species of special concern in Texas, which are rare or in decline and require special efforts to avoid being classified as endangered under state or federal regulations.

Gary Borders is an award-winning Texas veteran journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas over a period of 30 years, including Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches, and Cedar Park. Email: [email protected]

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