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COMMISSIONERS’ COURT MEETS TODAY

The Walker County Commissioners’ Court meets for a Special Session at nine this morning at the Walker County Storm Shelter.

They will hear “Citizens Input.”

Tax Assessor-Collector Diana McCrae will discuss possible action on a Joint Election Agreement for the November 3 General Election, including an attachment of countywide poll locations.

Commissioner White will discuss law enforcement.

Commissioner Daugette will discuss taking action on the approval of a 100 by 30 foot covered equipment barn at the Precinct #3 complex in an amount not to exceed $15,000 to be paid from the Precinct #3 Budget. He will also be taking action on the purchase of building materials for an equipment barn from Mueller Incorporated in an amount not to exceed $9,000.

County Judge Danny Pierce will talk about an intergovernmental agreement between HGAC and Walker County for a tire collection grant. He will also receive an update regarding the Walker County Weigh Station. He will also discuss taking action on the Walker County Maintenance Director position.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES FOOD AND HOSPITAL HELP

Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will provide approximately $182 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for the month of July as the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size.

More than 950,000 SNAP households will see the additional amount on their Lone Star Card by July 11.

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) also announce that $2.67 billion in federal funding has been approved to support Texas hospitals that provide care for people receiving Medicaid. This is a $1.07 billion increase from the previous State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020.

The governor said, “As we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State is committed to ensuring that our hospitals have the resources they need to continue providing care to Texans across the state..”

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE MINISTRY NETWORK’S DIRECTOR RON GOODWIN TALKS ABOUT ISSUES FOLLOWING AN OFFENDER’S RELEASE

Our guest on our “Around Town” public affairs program over the weekend was the Executive Director of the Restorative Justice Ministry Network here in Huntsville, Ron Goodwin. The ministry helps offenders along their path to the outside world.

There are a lot of negative issues an offender has to face when they are released from prison. We asked Ron to tell us about that . . . .

To donate or find out more about the Restorative Justice Ministry Network, you can visit their website at rjmntexas.com

SHSU IS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FOR CYBER DEFENSE EDUCATION

Sam Houston State University has been designated by The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through 2025.

The overall goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.

This new designation places SHSU among an elite group of universities that meet the federal government’s criteria for demonstrating a commitment to cyber defense education and security research. One of the criteria in which cyber defense education programs are evaluated is on the strength of their cybersecurity centers.

LOUISIANA SENATOR KENNEDY ASKS ABOUT WHY WE WEREN’T TOLD TO WEAR FACE MASKS FROM THE ONSET OF THE CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC

During a Senate Subcommittee hearing late last week on U-S efforts to quickly produce a COVID-19 vaccine, a master of political wit and Senator from Louisiana, John Kennedy, got into a back-and-forth about the face mask issue with National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.

At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the recommendation of those supposedly in the know was that a face mask would not provide protection, yet doctors and medical personnel were often seen wearing them while treating Coronavirus patients . . . .

Last week, of course, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order for all Texans to wear face covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The Walker County Office of Emergency Management reports that as of 2 PM, Thursday, July 2, there were 355 active cases of coronavirus in the county with 186 recovered. Please take note that there were 42 new community cases since the last report on July 1.

At TDCJ among county offenders, there were 32 active cases reported with 1,608 recovered. Deceased are recorded at 28.

We continue to remind you that community testing is scheduled for July 8, 22, and 23, 9 AM to 6 PM, at the Walker County Fairgrounds. Symptoms do not have to be present to test; however, you must register at txcovidtest.org or call 512-883-2400. A valid ID is required at the test site. Registration begins 48 hours prior.

GOVERNOR ABBOTT ESTABLISHES STATEWIDE FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT

On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS

The City of Huntsville will celebrate Independence Day, Saturday, July 4, with a large-scale firework show at the Kate Barr Ross Park on North Highway 75 North.

To address COVID-19 restrictions for social distancing, programming traditionally held in the afternoon at the park will not take place.

Parks staff, Huntsville Police Department and Huntsville Fire Department will be at the park at 7 p.m. to ensure proper parking and social distancing are being utilized.

The New Waverly Fire Department along with the New Waverly 4-H Community Club will continue their popular Independence Day celebration. A barbecue lunch will be available for sale. Also raffle tickets will be available at First Financial Bank in New Waverly, New Waverly Feed and Farm, Prosperity Bank, and Rancher’s Supply. The fireworks show will commence after dark behind Propserity Bank.

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