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Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Ike’

UTMB continues to do well post-Ike

Good to see. The morning after Hurricane Ike crashed into Galveston Island six years ago, David Callender surveyed the sea of mud coating the 84-acre University of Texas Medical Branch campus. The UTMB president saw oak tree limbs blocking the doors to John Sealy Hospital, which would be knocked out of service for the rest […]

Ike Dike versus Centennial Gate

It’s an academic storm surge mitigation smackdown! Lawmakers on Monday told representatives of two of Texas’ most distinguished universities to stop feuding and come together on a plan for protecting the Houston region from a storm surge similar to the one spawned by Hurricane Ike six years ago. At a hearing at Texas A&M University […]

What should we do about hurricane preparedness?

Or, to put the question another way: Ike Dike, Ike Floodgate, something else, or nothing? In 2009, months after Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast, Texas A&M-Galveston professor William Merrell unveiled a multibillion-dollar plan – to much skepticism – dubbed the “Ike Dike.” The proposal calls for extending Galveston’s seawall 15 miles to the […]

The D-word is back

It’s never really gone away since 2009. Locked in a seemingly endless cycle of droughts and brief reprieves, the Houston region has quietly slipped back into yet another drought. Since December Houston has received less than half its normal rainfall. That’s a pattern present since 2009, a period when the city racked up a deficit […]

Galveston passenger rail back on track

Sorry about the pun, they can be hard to avoid when writing these titles. Anyway, the on-again, off-again Houston to Galveston rail line is apparently on again. A Houston-to-Galveston passenger rail line postponed indefinitely after the economy hit bottom in 2009 is getting another chance, but it could be a decade or more before the […]

Calculate your storm risk

That hurricane risk calculator is now ready for your input. Using the Storm Risk Calculator produced by the city of Houston and Rice University, users can enter an address and learn the risks for rainfall, power outage, storm surge and rain damage. For example, Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s house in Midtown has a low risk […]

Who wants to live in Galveston?

Galveston would like to know. Although the city is still rebuilding with new private investment and hundreds of millions in federal disaster money, Galveston finds itself at a crossroads and confronting fundamental questions: Will its population continue to shrink until it becomes nothing more than a husk of tourist attractions? Will the city attract new […]

Ike rebuilding funds finally coming

About time. More than 3½ years after Hurricane Ike, a high-ranking federal housing official and Mayor Annise Parker announced Wednesday that $151 million in federal disaster relief money is on the way to four areas of Houston to rebuild or repair homes and apartments. “It’s about time we get this taken care of,” Parker said. […]

The Ike Floodgate

We have a recommendation for how to prepare for a future Hurricane Ike. A giant floodgate at the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel, coupled with a 130-mile wetlands recreation area, should be built to protect Houston from hurricane storm surges, a research team from five Texas universities recommended Monday. The two-year study led by […]

More Perry privatization problems

Insert your favorite cliche about being shocked. The state of Texas has quietly outsourced the management of more than $1 billion in federal disaster recovery funds to an engineering firm with close ties to Gov. Rick Perry’s administration, paying the Kansas City, Mo. -based firm HNTB $45 million so far to process infrastructure grants for […]

Texas gators hanging in there

There’s good news despite the bad news for Texas’ alligators. This year’s admittedly inexact estimate of the gator population in their prime habitat zone – the wetlands along the arc of the Texas coast – indicates there are a lot more alligators out there than most thought. At least half a million gators, and maybe […]

Friday random ten: Blowin’ in the wind

Those of us here on the Gulf Coast are quite familiar with hurricanes and all they can bring with them, so we have much sympathy for those on the East Coast who are in the path of Hurricane Irene. Whether you hunker down or get out of town, we wish you all the best as […]

Time for the annual “Are we ready for a big storm?” story

The answer, of course, is no, not really. After Tropical Storm Allison’s devastating floods, the Houston area widened its bayous and hardened its infra­structure. After Hurricane Rita’s deadly gridlock, the state revamped storm communications and evacuation plans. Yet since Hurricane Ike’s enormous surge wiped out coastal communities and its $30 billion in damages dwarfed those […]

There still could be a special session

Even if the Lege manages to pass a school finance plan, there’s still an issue (not Congressional redistricting) that may force a special session: Windstorm insurance. “The governor stated to me this morning that if we were unable to reach agreement, he most assuredly would call a special session on this issue July 15,” said […]

Galveston’s comeback

I wish the city of Galveston all the best with this. Community leaders here, concerned that 50 years of steady population loss could transform what was once one of Texas’ great cities into a hollowed-out tourist resort, are scrambling to reverse the decline. Hurricane Ike bit into the island city’s population in 2008, knocking it […]

Texas gator population bouncing back

Good news. The storm surge from Hurricane Ike in 2008 severely damaged alligator habitat in coastal marshes along the upper Texas coast, resulting in the outright death of a considerable number of gators. It also delayed the mortality of others and, the following spring, produced the worst alligator nesting effort wildlife managers had documented. But […]

Look in the mirror, John

It is of course a terrible thing that the actions of a single Republican will keep the Houston/Galveston area from keeping $40 million in federal disaster funds, but the reaction to it from certain quarters is more than a little precious. The bill passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support late Wednesday night just as […]

Ike Dike gets a study

The “Ike Dike”, a network of dikes and gates off the coast of Galveston that was first proposed last year by William Merrell as protection against storm surges from future hurricanes, is being discussed more seriously by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District. Although the Ike Dike may not be the final solution […]

AAUP criticizes UTMB for post-Ike layoffs

Oops. The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston and the University of Texas System (UTS) violated established and widely accepted guidelines on academic freedom and tenure when it laid off more than 2,400 faculty and staff in the wake of 2008’s Hurricane Ike, according to a report released today by the American Association […]

Interview with Chula Ross-Sanchez

I have one more interview for the Galveston city elections on May 8, that being with Chula Ross-Sanchez, who is running for Council District 6. She is a former member of the Planning Council whose non-reappointment caused a bit of a stir. She has a long history of advocacy for things like mitigating beach erosion […]

Interview with Joe Jaworski

Today is the start of early voting for the May 8 uniform election date in Texas. There’s not a whole lot happening in Harris County, but down in Galveston they will be electing a new Mayor to succeed the term-limited Lida Ann Thomas. One of the candidates running, the one I would be voting for […]

Better days ahead for UTMB

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is not only coming back, it’s growing. Although the UT Board of Regents authorized 3,800 layoffs, UTMB officials announced that about 3,000 jobs would be cut. The actual number turned out to be about 2,400, but it was widely interpreted as a step toward dismantling Texas’ oldest […]

Quan officially files

I had lunch today at the Post Oak Grill on Milam so I could be there for Gordon Quan’s official announcement that he is running for Harris County Judge. In fact, as Martha noted, he submitted his paperwork and paid his filing fee to be on the Democratic primary ballot. (Quan will have an opponent […]

Bye bye, hurricane season

More like this next year would be nice. The Atlantic hurricane season ended Monday with barely a whimper: Not a single hurricane came ashore in the United States. Since June, when the season began, just nine named storms developed. Only three of them became hurricanes, and those stayed out at sea or weakened before passing […]

Galveston Shriners Hospital now open

The Galveston Shriners Hospital, which was closed down after Hurricane Ike and was set to reopen on Monday after a long battle to bring it back, has opened its doors a few days early. Kudos to all involved for getting this done.

Shriners Hospital reopens next month

Back in July, delegates at the national Shriners convention voted to reopen the burn hospital for children in Galveston. The date to reopen has now been set for November. The hospital, a world leader in burn research and source of the foremost textbook on burn treatment, is tentatively scheduled to reopen Nov. 8, said Tommy […]

UTMB’s comeback

This is great to see. A bigger and better University of Texas Medical Branch is rising from the debris of Hurricane Ike, with more than $1 billion in repair, refurbishing and new construction under way or being planned. The UT Board of Regents recently authorized $667 million worth of new projects at UTMB, an amount […]

A year after Ike

One year after Hurricane Ike made landfall over Galveston, the news is surprisingly positive for the island, though many challenges still remain. The Lege helped Galveston in a number of ways for this year, such as requiring UT to reopen the Medical Branch and allowing the school district to use its 2008 count of students […]

Welcome back, Arne’s

A lot of people I know missed you while you were gone. Set in a century-old warehouse, Arne’s Warehouse & Party Store still looks like an old warehouse more than it does a store. After crossing a clunky metal turnstile, shoppers enter a bare-bones space with seemingly endless aisles of party supplies, artificial flowers, candy, […]

New beach boundaries

We have a new vegetation line, which determines where the public beach ends and private property begins, courtesy of Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. The line will determine whether beachfront property owners whose buildings were destroyed by Ike on Sept. 13 will be able to rebuild or possibly lose their houses to the public beach. Patterson […]

Ike Dike update

As the first Atlantic tropical storms of the year make their appearance, we get an update on the proposed Ike Dike. One of Hurricane Ike’s legacies may be the hardening of the upper Texas coast against hurricane storm surges. Within weeks, a post-Ike committee appointed by Gov. Rick Perry will recommend that six Texas counties […]

The streetscape for the Universities line

RichmondRail.org has a suggestion for Metro. For the coming light rail line to be a true asset to our neighborhoods, the streets leading to the transit stations must accommodate pedestrians more safely and comfortably than is typical for Houston streets outside downtown. If enacted, the proposed transit corridor ordinance (aka the Urban Corridor ordinance, which […]

Brought to you by…

People don’t like it when you mess with their icons. Public fury over a proposal to rename an iconic seawall park after a snack chip led Frito-Lay to ask Galveston County commissioners to halt the renaming process, a Frito-Lay spokeswoman said Wednesday. Galveston city officials had asked commissioners to recognize a $1 million donation by […]

More on food stamps lawsuit

The Chron now has a story about the lawsuit that has been filed over Texas’ inability to process food stamp applications in the federally-required 30 day time period. There’s not much in the story that we don’t already know, but I want to point this out: “We have an obligation to do better for Texas, […]