Archive for August, 2010

I-45 Gulf Freeway Accident
August 26, 2010

A woman was hit and killed as she tried to cross a southeast Houston freeway on Thursday.

Houston police said the woman died after she was hit by a Honda Accord on the northbound main lanes of the Gulf Freeway near Griggs Road at about 6:15 a.m.

Investigators said the woman was homeless and lived under a nearby bridge. Her name was not released.

All of the northbound lanes were closed to traffic while police investigated the death. They reopened at about 9:30 a.m.

METRO opened the HOV lane to all traffic while the main lanes were closed.

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Say it ain’t so! (290 NW Frwy)
August 26, 2010

US 290/ Hempstead Corridor Program Receives Environmental Clearance

“TxDOT is a huge step closer to beginning improvements on US 290.”

HOUSTON – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is pleased to announce that the US 290/Hempstead Corridor Program has received final federal approval.

On August 25, 2010, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the US 290/Hempstead Corridor’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. The ROD documents the proposed recommendations for the Corridor, explains why these recommendations were selected and includes a description of the mitigation required to implement the recommendations. This equals environmental clearance for the US 290/Hempstead Corridor Program, marks the completion of the Program’s 10-year planning and environmental process, and allows TxDOT to proceed with right of way negotiation and construction activities.

The first project will consist of improvements to the inbound portions of the US 290/IH 610 interchange funded by the previously allocated Proposition 12 bond funding. Construction letting is scheduled to occur in May 2011. Although they are a fraction of the total Program scope, the Proposition 12 improvements will result in a combined peak travel time savings of approximately $30 million per year for IH 10, IH 610 and US 290.

For more information on the US 290/Hempstead Corridor Program, please contact the Public Information Office at 1-866-95US290 (1-866-958-7290). For additional information regarding the Record of Decision please visit the US 290 Program website at   www.my290.com.

Mayor’s Anti-Gang Career Day
August 25, 2010

I moderated The Mayor’s Anti-Gang Career Day again this year. The program has been around for 3 years now and I really feel like the adults involved are doing good things for our youth headed in the wrong direction. The program’s main purpose is to provide delinquency prevention and gang intervention services for youth and families in Houston, Harris and surrounding counties.

This year, about 50 youth participants heard from panelists: including a professional athlete, a musician, graphic artist, fire fighter, police officer, youth service counselor and an elected official. The kids weren’t just “talked TO” … they were allowed to ask career questions and mingle afterward.

Picture blurred for privacy of individuals.

The event also featured vendors from area colleges and universities, businesses, the armed forces, and the Houston Fire Department.

“Each of our panelists has a unique story, so we encourage them to share the life experiences they faced – good or bad – that got them where they are today,” said Patricia Harrington, Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office.  “It reinforces to young people that any obstacle can be faced.”

Panelist answering questions.

Before I left, I asked the counselors why the kids join gangs and they said, “Because it’s the lifestyle they are raised in.” The kids admitted to me that they, “don’t have hope.” But, the people that you see in the picture above are trying to change that. They took time out of their busy schedules to show the kids firsthand, that there IS hope and that people DO care about them. I saw some of the same kids that I had seen in previous years and that worried me. One of the counselors told me that some enjoy coming back to this summer program though. It’s something positive, it gives them a sense of belonging and it keeps them out of trouble, I’m told. I was happy to hear.

Back-To-School: Traffic Tips (Thursday)
August 19, 2010

As we all know, not every child gets to school via a car. Some walk and others ride a bike. Please be mindful of small children riding to school because as Houstonians…we just aren’t used to bike riders for the most part. Now if your child is a rider, be sure to talk with them about the safety of riding and send them off with a helmet.

A: Children can take their bikes to local fire stations to get a safety check for brakes, tire pressure or basic maintenance.

A: Bicycles have the same rights as cars, but the law encourages bikers to ride in the right lane and merge with traffic when making a turn.

Back To School: Traffic Tips (Wednesday)
August 18, 2010

Today’s question about cell phone usage was a popular one and one that took SEVERAL calls to get REAL clarity on. Please know that the following questions and answers are merely to inform you and not to promote driving while talking on a cell phone. For the safety of children and for the safety of yourself, you should always make the safest decision possible at all times.

A: According to HPD & HISD Police, they are not ticketing because signs are not up yet. But in the city of Bellaire where “No Cell Phone Usage” signs are up, they say that the law is in affect with the active school day. Example: On a Saturday, if you were talking on your cell phone in the City of Bellaire, their police would not ticket you.

A: HISD police officers may arrest people who disobey the law and issue citations both on and off campus within their jurisdiction. (They are commissioned by the State of Texas.)

Tune in tomorrow for another round of Back-To-School Safety Questions!

Back To School: Traffic Tips (Tuesday)
August 16, 2010

Tuesday’s Questions: Tune in between 5am-7am as we answer back-to-school traffic questions! We’ll have more throughout the week, preparing you and your family for the 2010 school year.

A: According to Texas law , drivers are prohibited from using a wireless device within a reduced-speed school zone. Cellular phones may be used while the vehicle is stopped in a school zone or with a hands-free device. Wireless devices may be used to make emergency calls to specific organizations, such as police, fire and emergency medical services. The law also applies to bus drivers. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $200.

A: Drivers must read and obey the information posted on the speed limit signs. The times listed are the times when drivers must slow their speeds. If the flashing lights are malfunctioning, please call 311 and report their location.

If you have a school zone question…email me at jreyna@click2houston.com.

Back To School: Traffic Tips (Monday)
August 14, 2010

Most children will start the 2010 school year on August 23rd. Are you ready? This week (8/16-21) on Local 2, during the traffic segments, we’ll answer some of the most popular questions for drivers about school zone safety laws. Email me with your questions and we’ll try to get them on-air! jreyna@click2houston.com

Monday’s Questions:

A: According to HISD Police, drivers in ALL lanes and ON BOTH SIDES of the street must stop if the school bus stop sign is out or the red flashing lights are on. Drivers are not required to stop if there is a median separating you(driver) and the school bus.

A: HISD Police will not be giving any warnings for violations in a school zone. They say that this is a NO TOLERANCE policy for the safety of students.  So, stay tuned to my traffic reports this week for a preview of other laws that you should be briefed on before the 2010 school year kicks off.

Ferries Getting An Upgrade
August 11, 2010

Clean-Burning Engines Coming to Historic Lynchburg Ferries

The historic Lynchburg Ferries will soon be more fuel-efficient and make an impact in improving air-quality.

Grant funds will pay the cost of replacing the engines on both the Ross S. Sterling and William P. Hobby ferries. Both boats are more than 40 years old.

The new engines are rated to save as much as 400 gallons of fuel per month for the two boats that currently use about 1,400 gallons monthly. Additionally, emissions of dangerous pollutants are expected to fall by as much as two-thirds.

The cost and installation of the engines total: $588,611.

Once the engines and parts have been shipped, the work is expected to be completed in October.

Are Thieves After Your Car?
August 10, 2010


Top Ten Stolen Vehicles for July 2010

The following is a rundown of the “Top 10” makes of vehicles reported stolen to the Houston Police Department during the month of July 2010.

1.   Ford Trucks 153
2.   Chevrolet Trucks 129
3.   Honda Cars 105
4.   Dodge Trucks 97
5.   Chevrolet Cars 39
6.   Ford Cars 38
7.   Dodge Cars 36
8.   GMC Trucks 26
Toyota Cars 26
9.   Pontiac Cars 22
10. Jeep Trucks 20
Toyota Trucks 20

My Favorites
August 6, 2010

Here’s my list:

http://www.click2houston.com/slideshow/news/24524856/detail.html

http://www.click2houston.com/slideshow/news/24524856/detail.html

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES? Share with me on Facebook. Or email me.

Join Me – Saturday Morning
August 5, 2010

…As I fill-in anchor the show (Aug. 7) from 6-8am on Local 2.

Mary Lee and I had a great time a couple of weekends ago, on the Sunday morning newscast. Thanks to all of you who caught that one and for your encouraging messages since then.

FACEBOOK PAGES:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Reyna/105141706192290?ref=ts#!/pages/Jennifer-Reyna/105141706192290?v=wall&story_fbid=143884165641723

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Reyna/105141706192290?ref=ts#!/JenniferReynaKPRC?ref=ts

Here’s the crew [Amber, Mary, Gene, Matt, Grant, JD, Chad (missing)] who worked so hard to make it a smooth one. Thank you all.

Anchorman Sequel…NO??
August 5, 2010

You probably guessed that I am a fan of the movie, Anchorman. In TV, who isn’t?

I don’t usually care for slapstick comedies, but this movie is an exception.  As I was browsing through Mike McGuff’s blog (http://mikemcguff.blogspot.com/), the mention of an Anchorman sequel caught my eye. So, I clicked on this link to sadly find out that at this time, a sequel has been denied.

It’s a long article, basically blaming globalization for Hollywood’s change of strategy when okaying scripts. Check it out for yourself: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704913304575371394036766312.html

Personalized Licence Plates
August 4, 2010

Go online now to share your opinion about new designs proposed for official Texas license plates:

http://myplates.pr-optout.com/Url.aspx?520775x120223x-70279

-NASCAR has three proposed designs, including plates honoring the NASCAR Hall Of Fame and Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR 24 Jeff Gordon.

-There are two new full-color designs for the Dallas Cowboys and one each for the Houston Texans and the Houston Dynamo.

-New university plates are proposed for Texas Tech, University of Texas at San Antonio, Baylor, University of Oklahoma, and University of Tennessee. 

-The Texas Trophy Hunters Association design is black, featuring a skull.

The public comment period ends August 10 at 5 pm.  Assuming the plates meet with TxDMV approval, My Plates hopes to have the new designs available in October for order online or by calling 888-7MY-PLATES.

My Plates prices range from $55 to $195 for a one-year plate.  The yearly cost gets lower when plates are purchased for 5 or 10 years.

School Zone Fines
August 3, 2010

 Speed in a Houston School Zone—Face Fines Over $275

 Tickets for Cell Phone Use in a School Zone Top $322, Allstate Ins. Survey Finds

HOUSTON, TX, August 17, 2010 – Get caught speeding in a Houston area school zone and expect to pay an average of $216, according to a new survey by Allstate Insurance.  The company recently surveyed 80 police departments and municipal courts across the state—including 14 in the Houston area—to find out the average cost of a speeding ticket in a school zone for driving 10 miles per hour over the limit. 

The survey found in the Houston area, the highest fines for school zone speeders are in Conroe ($276), Shenandoah ($272) and Houston ($250): Houston Area Cities     Average fine for speeding 10 mph over limit in school zone     
Conroe  $276   
Shenandoah      $272   
Houston         $250   
Baytown $226   
Pasadena        $225   
Sugar Land      $225   
Galveston       $222   
League City     $222   
Lake Jackson    $220   
Humble  $205   
Missouri City   $204   
La Porte        $201   
Bellaire        $200+  
Pearland        $176   
Rosenberg       $160   
Texas City      $150   

Statewide Results

According to the survey, the average fine statewide for driving 10 miles per hour over the limit is $211, with the highest fines in Huntsville ($312), College Station ($305) and Conroe ($305). On the other end of the spectrum, school zone speeders in Lufkin face fines around $150.

Allstate conducted the survey to remind drivers to slow down and pay attention in school zones, especially as many students in Texas head back to class next week.

“No matter how high or low the fines are in a city, they are in place to protect our kids and save lives,” said Dana Philibert, an Allstate agent in Pasadena. “Hopefully, any fine is enough to make drivers slow down and think.”

Cell Phone Violations in School Zones Top $327

Police are looking for more than just speeders in school zones. Drivers caught violating the year-old Texas law prohibiting cell phone use in a school zone, without a hands-free device, can end up paying as much as $327 in some cities, including Pearland, according to the survey..

The surveyed cities docking drivers the most in the Houston area for violating the cell phone-school zone law are:ouston Area Cities     Average fine for using a wireless device  in a school zone     
Pearland        $327   
Tomball            $322   
La Porte        $297   
Conroe             $276   
Houston         $260   

Three Back to School Traffic Safety Tips

1.      Drive slowly in school zones. Watch for children in the road and always obey crossing guards.

2.      Put down your phone, breakfast, make-up, etc. and focus on driving.

3.      Be alert and patient around school buses and bus stops.