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Houston

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

After the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not fully address the right to marriage benefits, the city of Houston is now looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

"We had a parent go by and check on the chickens. They were fine and Wilson the cat was ok too! I know many people are concerned. What a wonderful community we have."

For the staff of Wilson Montessori, a public pre-K-8 school in Houston, the days after Harvey meant tracking down members of the community via text, collecting donations for those in need — and reassuring students about the fate of the school's pets.

From Texas Standard:

As the levels in Houston's two main reservoirs continue to drop, many Texans have begun cleaning up their waterlogged homes. And in Baytown, Exxon is rebooting its refinery, the second biggest in the U.S. But there’s much more to do.

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

Local, state and federal officials took to national airwaves Sunday to discuss recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey and project a largely positive message.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

With the skies finally clearing over the Houston area, residents are getting their first chance to survey the damage and catalogue what was lost. 

A chemical plant just northeast of Houston is at risk of explosion following the failure of refrigeration equipment that is needed to cool the volatile compounds produced there.

The CEO of Arkema Inc., Rich Rowe, said Wednesday that the Crosby, Texas, facility is flooded by 6 feet of water and that both primary and backup power have failed. Without cooling systems, the risk of fire and explosion grows ever more serious. "The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it," Rowe said.

This week was supposed to be the start of a brand-new school year for the 200,000, or so, students in the Houston Independent School District.

Instead, kids, teachers and staff are dealing with the fallout from Harvey's record-breaking rainfall and devastating floods.

Richard Carranza, Houston schools superintendent, is trying to figure out when school can start — and where, in cases where high waters flooded out schools and homes. Even as he recognizes this school year will be very different, he says the focus will be on teaching kids, wherever Harvey has scattered them.

In southeastern Texas, about two dozen hospitals remained closed as of midafternoon Wednesday, and several Houston hospitals remain under threat of flooding from nearby reservoirs.

But things are looking up. Some hospitals that had been evacuated have reopened, and others are restoring services they had temporarily suspended. Many never closed at all.

The rain has let up in Houston, but getting in and out of the city is still a difficult task. Houston's two main airports reopened Wednesday with limited service. But many roads are flooded, and some bridges have been damaged.

Since Saturday, when both the airports shut down, thousands of flights in and out the city have been canceled. Up to now, at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the runways were open only for limited operations and humanitarian flights.

As flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey continues in Southeast Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said the number of counties on the federal government’s disaster declaration has been expanded to 33. That expansion includes counties outside of Harvey's path that are helping evacuees in shelters – including Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis.

Among the most pressing medical needs facing Houston at the moment: getting people to dialysis treatment.

At DaVita Med Center Dialysis on Tuesday afternoon, nurses tended to dozens of patients on dialysis machines while another 100 people waited their turn. Some were clearly uncomfortable, and a number said they hadn't been dialyzed in four days.

Those delays can be life-threatening.

Updated Thursday, Aug. 31 at 2:45 p.m. ET

As devastating floods continue across Houston and along the Texas coast, rescue teams have brought hope, heroism and much-needed relief to the stranded.

But help came too late for some. At least 29 people are confirmed to have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and unprecedented flooding, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Houston Police say 60-year-old Sgt. Steve Perez, trying to get to work despite Hurricane Harvey, drowned in his patrol car in floodwaters.

In a somber news conference Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief Art Acevedo said Perez's wife, Cheryl, had asked her husband not to report to work Sunday morning. But Perez, who had been on the police force for 34 years and was just a few days short of his 61st birthday, insisted on going in.

Erica Brown called 911 for two days before a helicopter finally spotted her, trapped in her Houston home with her 7-month-old son and three other children. Sometimes when she called, she got nothing, just a busy signal and a disconnection. Multiple times she was told that they'd try to send help. Hours would go by with no rescue.

The family spent two nights in their trailer watching the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise up the foundation. "It was a hard feeling because I thought me and my kids were going to lose our life in this hurricane disaster."

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

When disaster strikes, stories often emerge about people who go above and beyond to serve others. People like Mattress Mack, the Houston business owner who invited Hurricane Harvey evacuees into his two giant furniture stores, even sending out trucks to pick up people who couldn't get there.

Tropical Storm Harvey has brought the mighty Texas oil refining industry to its knees, at least temporarily, and Texas drivers are just starting to feel the pain.

Houston is grappling with a disaster of epic proportions from Hurricane Harvey, as the now-tropical storm continues to dump rain on the region. On Sunday, the death toll rose to eight, including a family of six who drowned in a van while trying to escape the rising waters.

The historic Houston flood of 2017 is deepening, and with it, there are more water rescues — at least 2,000 by Monday afternoon. People who believed that they could wait it out or that the water would go down are realizing they have to get out.

The remnants of now-Tropical Storm Harvey have all but parked over south Texas and the storm is inundating the region around Houston with "unprecedented" rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Houstonians have been stranded in their homes, and some of those who were on the roads were in need of rescue as areas of Houston received as much as two feet of rain with no immediate end in sight.

Then-Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday evening near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest storms to make landfall in recent history.

Updated at 7:04 p.m.

The National Weather Center is calling Tropical Storm Harvey "unprecedented" and says all impacts are unknown. The agency now reports rainfall from the storm could reach 50 inches — the highest ever recorded in Texas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says this "disaster is going to be a landmark event."

Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET Monday

At least two people have been killed as the Houston area continues to be inundated by torrential rain and catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey, which officials called an "unprecedented" weather event that has left thousands of homes flooded, stranding some people and overwhelming rescue workers.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Houston, police say there are solvable property crime cases with no one to solve them. Dallas officers are taking more time to respond to fewer emergency calls, and both cities are slower to get to non-emergency situations.

From Texas Standard:

The saying, you’re only as good as your equipment, has serious implications for first responders. A faulty service weapon can mean the difference between life and death for police officers and those they protect, which makes what's happening in Houston all the more frightening.

Tamir Kalifa / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits. The state's highest civil court ordered a trial court to reconsider the case.

From Texas Standard:

By now you’ve likely heard of fentanyl, one of the narcotics at the center of the nation’s opioid crisis. But now, authorities in Houston are issuing an urgent warning that goes beyond the narrative of addiction. Officials have found a powerful analogue of fentanyl, carfentanil, a drug so powerful that mere skin contact can lead to lethal exposure.

From U.S. House Floor, Texas Democrat Calls For Trump's Impeachment

May 17, 2017
Official House portrait

Amid multiple Trump-related scandals rocking the Capitol, U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump from the House chamber on Wednesday morning. 

Texas landowners opposed to a high-speed train line between Dallas and Houston took to the Capitol Thursday and early Friday to warn lawmakers that the project would ruin rural lifestyles and prevent growth in the counties between the two cities.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

The bruising battles over legislative fixes to failing pension systems in Dallas and Houston could eventually evolve into a statewide war over the kind of retirement funds public employees should be offered.

Former President George H.W. Bush Discharged From Hospital

Apr 28, 2017
Jim McGrath, Bush spokesman / Twitter

Former President George H.W. Bush was discharged from Houston Methodist Hospital on Friday after recovering from a persistent cough and pneumonia, spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

Dave Fehling NPR StateImpact / KUHF Houston Public Radio

In a huge win for environmental groups, a federal judge has ordered ExxonMobil to pay nearly $20 million for spewing millions of pounds of excess air pollution from its Houston-area industrial facilities.

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