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  • Ed Sterling


Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Thursday, Nov. 14, announced the Texas General Land Office’s approval of $21,155,575 in Hurricane Harvey funds for Fort Bend County to conduct a buyout program.

In the late summer of 2017, record-heavy rainfall brought by Hurricane Harvey catastrophically flooded streets and homes. Fort Bend County will use the funds to conduct a buyout program targeting approximately 100 homes most vulnerable to flooding.

The funds come from a much larger pool of federal assistance. Bush was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to lead Hurricane Harvey housing recovery efforts funded by $5.7 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Hurricane Harvey devastated communities across the Texas Coast,” said Bush. “These recovery funds are critical to protecting lives, homes and businesses from future storms. We continue to work with our partners in communities across the region to leverage these resources efficiently and effectively to benefit Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey.”

Court stays execution The execution of a Texas death row inmate incarcerated since May 1998 was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday, Nov. 15.

The court order came five days before Rodney Reed, 51, was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

A number of Republican and Democratic federal and state lawmakers and celebrities called on Gov. Greg Abbott to prevent the execution as motions for the reexamination of DNA and other evidence and the introduction of new witness statements gained publicity.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted in favor of granting a 120-day reprieve of the execution.

In 1998, Reed was convicted in the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old grocery store clerk.

Both Reed and Stites were residents of Bastrop when Stites’s body was found. Reed, who had dated Stites, was arrested as a suspect and taken into custody.