1. Columbia bike trail suspects arrested
Two teen suspects accused of the recent violent robberies along the Columbia Tap Bike Trail are now in custody. The Houston Police Department investigated multiple reported incidents in May of suspects targeting Houstonians on the bike trail, which is located in the 3100 block of Anita Street. The suspects were identified by officers as Deon Kristen, 17, and Willie Carol, 17. HPD declined to go into detail on the arrests, saying the investigation is still active at this time. While robbery incidents are going down, jugging cases have increased. The department plans to establish a task force in an effort to combat those crimes.
2. SNAP benefits at risk, advocates say
Anti-hunger advocates say new requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, in the debt ceiling bill passed by Congress, could limit access to food for some people in need. The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 expands the work requirement for SNAP recipients from age 18 to 49 to age 18 to 54. That would require able-bodied adults who don’t have dependents to work or participate in approved job training for at least 80 hours a month, in order to receive more than three months of benefits over three years. Republicans say it will help people get jobs, and reduce the need for benefits. But anti-hunger advocates at No Kid Hungry say many recipients are already working and this creates job reporting requirements that will result in a lot of red tape that could make it difficult to qualify.
3. Cornel West running for president
Activist, theologian and academic Cornel West has announced that he is running for president in 2024 as a third-party candidate. The 70-year-old leader said he is running for the nomination as a member of The People’s Party, a left-wing political party that dates back to the 1890s. West, a longtime political activist who has been critical of Republicans and Democrats over the years, mentioned President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump – the likely Democratic and Republican 2024 presidential nominees – in his pitch to voters and positioned himself as an alternative candidate. The campaign ad includes comments West made about Trump and Biden in previous interviews, in which he called Trump a “gangster” and “neo-fascist” and Biden a “milquetoast neo-liberal.” Cornel West, known for evoking messages of “love” when talking about politics, positioned his presidential campaign as one rooted in caring for others.
4. Texas cracks down on texting and driving
The Texas Department of Transportation is finding ways to warn drivers to stay safe on the roads. As they report distracted driving has increased 10% for the state of Texas, they have launched the ‘Text. Talk. Crash.” awareness campaign urging Texans to pay attention to the roads. The campaign is an extension of a social media and word of mouth effort #EndtheStreakTX, that encourages drivers to make safer choices behind the wheel and end the streak of daily deaths. TxDOT says distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable and are offering tips to help drivers steer clear of potentially deadly situations.
5. HBCU National Battle of the Bands comes to Houston
The National Battle of the Bands is back in Houston this year! It kicks off Saturday, August 26, at NRG Stadium at 6 p.m. The event celebrates the rich culture of HBCU marching bands while generating scholarship money for participating HBCU bands and supporting the community. More than 2,200 members from the top marching bands in the country will kick off their fall marching band season while showcasing their unique style, talent, and sound.