Prairie View A&M shooting victim remembered
An employee at Prairie View A&M University who was shot and killed by a former co-worker at the university’s farm has been identified as 31-year-old Hempstead native Kendrick Wilder. Police say former employee Devon Elliott Rhodes went to the Governor Bill and Vera Daniels Farm and Ranch on Nov. 13. The two men reportedly had previously worked together and had “conflicts” in the last few months. Rhodes was fired three months ago and returned to campus, where police say he shot Wilder multiple times in the back. In addition to being an employee of the university, Wilder was a husband, a father of four children, and a Prairie View alumnus. Additionally, Wilder was a coach of the non-profit youth football team, the Waller Pee Wee Bulldogs. Rhodes was out on a $100 bond on a separate, unrelated charge in Harris County at the time of the shooting.
Report: Texas students aren’t making the grade
Class of 2023 Texas high school graduates scored lower on the ACT college entrance exam than previous classes, according to a report by the nonprofit organization ACT. The nonprofit group that administers the test reported that Texans scored 19.3 out of a perfect score of 36 for the average composite score, just slightly behind the national average. Compared to other large states, Texas’s high school graduates’ average composite scores ranked higher than Florida’s at 18.9 but lower than California’s at 25.7 and Alaska’s at 20.2. The scores reflect the most recent indication of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students. Students in the class of 2023 whose scores were reported were in their first year of high school when the virus reached the U.S. According to data obtained by Axios, the state average composite score has dropped by 1.6 points in the last nine years.
City buying more guns from citizens
The city of Houston will hold its fifth gun buyback event on Sat., Nov. 18, at the Westchase Park and Ride. The buy-back program is part of the One Safe Houston initiative the city launched in 2021 to decrease violent crime. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the program is an opportunity for people to voluntarily get rid of firearms. Officials say the buyback program also helps prevent accidental shootings and reduces the likelihood of stolen guns. According to city officials, the last buyback event collected a record number of over 1,400 firearms in June. Turner said Houston Police Department volunteers will also be distributing 400 gun safes at the event. He said the city will have $170,000 worth of gift cards to be distributed to those who turn in a firearm. The city has spent a total of $77 million on the One Safe Houston initiative, according to Turner. The initiative was first funded from federal dollars through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Turner said the funds for the initiative should last through 2024 or 2025. The buyback event will go from 8 a.m. to noon.
Texas Children’s Hospital closing centers serving low-income families
Texas Children’s Hospital is closing both of its Houston healthcare centers dedicated to serving low-income families. The Greenspoint facility at 700 North Sam Houston Parkway West will be closing on Dec. 1, and the other center at 9700 Bissonnet St. Suite 1000 W – which already has stopped accepting new patients – will close on June 30, 2024. Both centers exclusively serve patients with medical coverage through the Texas Children’s Health Plan, which is available to those who qualify for Medicaid or the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The facilities offer a range of healthcare services for children and women, including pregnancy care, dentistry, optometry, speech therapy, behavioral health services and a pharmacy. A Texas Children’s spokesperson said the closures are necessary because they “identified an opportunity to create a different paradigm and care model that will improve the quality of care and patient experience as well as expand the access we provide to not only the special population of our Health Plan families but to all our patients and families.”