Houston Matters is a radio program airing weekdays at noon on Houston Public Media News 88.7 FM in Houston. During each hour, we’ll investigate the issues and ideas, people and places that make Houston…well…Houston! We’ll talk about current events, politics, education, health care, the environment,…
On Friday's Houston Matters: We learn why the union for Harris County law enforcement has filed a lawsuit against the county. Also this hour: We break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And we bid farewell to longtime News 88.7 reporter Florian Martin.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: State lawmakers are considering a bill that would let people fired for refusing the get a COVID-19 vaccine to sue their former employers. This, of course, could have repercussions for a number of businesses in the Houston area. We talk with News 88.7's Andrew Schneider about the hearing, and whether this bill is likely to pass. Also this hour: Jason Woods, aka DJ Flash Gordon Parks, is a living encyclopedia of Houston music history. We talk with him about Houston music and why certain genres flourished here. And Tex-Mex cuisine is spreading throughout the country, but is it spreading in Mexico itself? Chef David Cordúa talks it over and discusses the different kinds of Mexican cuisine you can find in Texas.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: Local leaders and businesses are pushing back against Gov. Greg Abbott's new executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates — this time banning any entity in Texas, including private businesses, from requiring vaccinations from employees or customers. Also this hour: We discuss the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then, we discuss the future of downtown with Bob Eury, the outgoing president of the downtown revitalization organization Central Houston. And Catherine Lu talks with former Houston Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, who was just named a resident artist for the American Lyric Theater in New York City.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: Mayor Sylvester Turner is reversing course on a controversial housing contract. We learn more from News 88.7's Jen Rice. Also this hour: Houston City Council Member Greg Travis discusses issues facing the city. You can send questions now to email@example.com. Then, we discuss some recent growth in the Katy area and what it signals about what is drawing Houstonians to live in communities like it. And Houston-based artist Joni Zavitsanos has created a memorial to Houstonians lost to COVID-19 which will be on display at the Health Museum beginning Oct. 16.
On Monday's Houston Matters: Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez discusses efforts to curb street racing and other law enforcement issues. Also this hour: We discuss how the Biden administration is handling immigration enforcement differently since coming to power. Then, bug expert Erin Mills of the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land answers your questions. And we get an update on the Astros playoff series against the White Sox and other Houston sports stories.
On Friday's Houston Matters: Mayor Sylvester Turner's handling of a development deal went unaddressed at a special council meeting yesterday that focused on the housing department's budget. News 88.7's Jen Rice fills us in on what happened. Also this hour: With the process of redrawing Texas Congressional maps underway, we examine a different way of handling it altogether. Then, we break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And we preview a conversation about how – and what – the spaces we inhabit teach us about race. It's the topic of this week's edition of I See U.
On Thursday's show: Houston sometimes struggles to get out of its own way environmentally. There were a couple notable examples Wednesday. First, in the morning, an oil spill at the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City – just the latest in a series of leaks and spills nationwide recently. Later Wednesday, Air Alliance Houston released a new report finding public transit use is way down in the region. Refinery accidents, our car-centric culture -- they have a cumulative effect. We talk it over with Rachel Powers, executive director of the Citizens' Environmental Coalition. Also this hour: A University of Houston forum on Oct. 21 will discuss how to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline – the problem of students getting kicked out of school and all too often ending up in the criminal justice system. We talk with two experts involved in the discussion. Then, local food writers discuss their favorite places to get vegan and vegetarian food around the city these days in our monthly food segment, The Full Menu. And we learn about Latino rap and hip-hop in Houston.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: Two area members of Congress have weighed in on draft district maps in the state's redistricting process. It's safe to say they're not happy. News 88.7's Andrew Schneider explains. Also this hour: We discuss the latest news in our weekly political roundup with University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus, co-hosts of Houston Public Media's Party Politics program. New episodes debut this week and can be heard Fridays at 10:30 p.m. on News 88.7. Then, we talk with Dr. Laura Murillo, the president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, about her new book called Lead in Life, People. Passion. Persistence: Succeed in the New Era of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. And singer/songwriter Thomas Csorba performs in studio.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: Houston City Council Member Tiffany Thomas answers your questions about issues facing the city. Also this hour: She's received an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony – despite constant efforts to typecast her. We revisit a 2014 conversation with Rita Moreno, who discusses her career and her work advocating for the arts. The PBS series American Masters profiles Moreno tonight at 8 on Houston Public Media, TV 8. And we learn about items in an archive at the University of Houston from legendary Houston TV news reporter Marvin Zindler.
On Monday's Houston Matters: We get the latest COVID-19 numbers and trends from the Houston Health Authority, Dr. David Persse. Also this hour: We offer you your monthly opportunity to vent about your pet peeves about life in Housotn. And we get an update on Houston sports.
On Monday's Houston Matters: We get the latest COVID-19 numbers and trends from the Houston Health Authority, Dr. David Persse. Also this hour: We offer you your monthly opportunity to vent about your pet peeves about life in Housotn. And we get an update on Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: We get an update on developments in Congress regarding the infrastructure bill and avoiding a government shutdown. And we preview the November election here in Texas, with the deadline to register to vote coming up on Monday. Also this hour: We talk with a local organizer of the Houston Women's March, which will be one of many taking place around the country on Saturday regarding reproductive rights. Then, we talk with Michael López-Alegría from the Houston-based company Axiom Space, which has begun training private astronauts (including López-Alegría himself) who will head to the International Space Station in January. The company is also building the first commercial space station. Plus, we discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And we preview a conversation with Wendy and Lisa from Prince's band The Revolution from this week's edition of I See U with Eddie Robinson.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: Texas State Senators are angry about a power grid winterization loophole for natural gas companies that was built into a law they approved this year. We discuss what exactly it means and the response from the Texas Railroad Commission. Also this hour: The current iteration of Pres. Biden's infrastructure bill proposes spending $4.7 billion on decommissioning orphaned oil and gas wells. These are oil well sites that were operated by companies that became financially insolvent and entered bankruptcy. It then falls upon state governments and, ultimately, taxpayers to pay for and properly decommission their abandoned assets. We learn more about efforts to deal with these sites. Then, local activist Ashley Dedmon talks about serving as a caregiver for her mother during her battle with breast cancer and for her father during his battle with prostate cancer. And she discusses a new initiatve from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reduce the breast cancer mortality rate among Black women. The organization's annual Race for the Cure is Saturday morning at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. And we learn more about the Black Indigenous People of Color Arts Network and Fund, which plans to offer financial help to artists of color in Greater Houston. The deadline to apply for the first round of funds is Oct. 22.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: Texas lawmakers have released their first draft of a new congressional map clearly aimed at protecting GOP incumbents and reducing Democrats' influence in the state. News 88.7's Andrew Schneider walks us through the specifics of how exactly this new map could affect Houston-area districts, constituents, and representatives. Also this hour: Local experts react to the draft redistricting maps, efforts to avoid a government shutdown over the debt ceiling, and other developments in our regular weekly political roundup. Then, Houston Habitat for Humanity is trying its hand at creating a master-planned community of housing designed specifically for families of low and moderate income. And actress, dancer, and choreoghaper Debbie Allen discusses how Houston shaped her artistic career. The Television Academy recently presented Allen with its Governors Award at the primtime Emmys.
On Tuesday's show: We remember Sissy Farenthold, one of the most prominent feminists in the Lone Star state and the nation. She died Sunday at age 94. Also this hour: Houston City Councilmember Martha Castex-Tatum answers questions about issues facing the city. You can send yours now to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, Connor Towne O'Neill, one of the producers of the NPR podcast White Lies, discusses his book Down Along with That Devil's Bones. It examines the nation's reckoning with Confederate monuments through the lens of the fight over monuments to one particular figure from the Civil War: Nathan Bedford Forrest. O'Neill will speak at a virtual event with Blue Willow Bookshop Thursday night. And we learn more about the Fort Bend County Fair.
On Monday's Houston Matters: There have been four million COVID-19 cases in Texas since the beginning of the pandemic. That news comes as booster shots become available for some 60 million older or at-risk Americans who received the Pfizer vaccine. We discuss those and other developments with Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Also this hour: This week, the PBS series American Experience presents Citizen Hearst, a two-part biography of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. In conjunction, we reflect on Houston's newspaper history by talking with some former writers for the now-defunct Houston Post. Then, veterinarian Dr. Lori Teller answers your pet care questions. And we get an update on Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: We examine how local schools are handling COVID-19 this fall in the classroom. Also this hour: We get an update on efforts to reform the state's foster care system. Then, from a very narrow house selling for top dollar, to homecoming mums from Chili's, we discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week's news. And we meet Rice University swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger, who won a silver medal at the Paralympics.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: Houston has a new interim housing director amid a dramatic week in city politics. We learn more about why Mayor Sylvester Turner fired Tom McCasland, the previous director, who alleged the mayor steered Harvey relief funds for affordable housing to a preferred developer's project. Also this hour: Former Obama administration official and Rice alum Ben Rhodes talks about how he believes recent events in America could hurt democracy abroad. It's the subject of his book, After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made. He's discussing it tonight at an event at the Asia Society. Plus: On this month's edition of The Bigger Picture, we discuss Clint Eastwood's new film Cry Macho and the evolution of masculinity on screen. And we learn about efforts to establish a first-class institution of Latino art here.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: The deputies who staff the Harris County Jail have filed a federal lawsuit over working conditions there. They claim they're so understaffed that some officers have urinated in trash cans or soiled their clothes because they couldn't get a bathroom break. Houston Chronicle reporter Gabrielle Banks gives us details. Also this hour: We discuss the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then, News 88.7's Matt Harab talks with Dr. Hasan Gokal. The Harris County doctor was accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine doses and was ultimately fired. He's now suing the county's public health department for discrimination, asking for more than $1 million in damages. And a new exhibit and documentary celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the nation's first racially integrated fine art shows, which took place at The DeLuxe Theater in Houston's Fifth Ward in 1971.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo joins us to answer your questions about issues facing the county. Also this hour: Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law another bill designed to quash the teaching of critical race theory in public schools – something educators say they don't teach. We take a closer look at what the new law does and hear how one local teacher responded to the previous law passed in the spring. And we revisit a 2019 conversation with John Oates, half of Hall and Oates, the best-selling music duo of all time. They perform Sunday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands.
On Monday's Houston Matters: We preview the third special session of the Texas Legislature, which begins today. Also this hour: We hear a lot about the health impact of COVID-19. But what about what it ends up costing patients? ER visits, hospital stays, even lost wages -- it all adds up. We examine the literal cost of COVID. Then, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license for a waste repository in the Permian Basin. Gov. Greg Abbott is ardently opposed to it. We learn more about what's planned and whether it's a gateway to more. And we get an update on the latest development in Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: An FDA committee will rule today whether COVID booster shots are safe. And, if that approval comes, the Memorial Hermann Hospital System, for one, is prepared to offer those as soon as Monday. We discuss the possible rollout of booster shots and get a general update on the COVID-19 situation in Houston with Dr. David Callender, president & CEO of the Memorial Hermann Health System. Also this hour: We discuss the importance of diversity in newsroom leadership. Then, from Halloween's Michael Myers showing up on a Galveston beach as Hurricane Nicholas approached, to scientists saying they can bring back the woolly mammoth, we discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And we preview a conversation with Houston comedian Ali Siddiq from this week's edition of I See U with Eddie Robinson.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to sue school districts across the state over their mask policies, accusing them of defying the governor's executive order banning public schools and local municipalities from issuing their own mask mandates. We learn about this latest volley in the ongoing battle between state and local authorities amid the pandemic and what could happen going forward. Also this hour: We discuss how Houston shaped the legacy of Muhammad Ali – both in and out of the boxing ring -- with biographer Jonathan Eig, author of the book, Ali: A Life. Ali is the subject of a new four-part Ken Burns documentary that premieres Sunday night at 7 on Houston Public Media, TV 8. Then, bird expert Richard Gibbons from Houston Audubon answers your questions. And we revisit our 2020 conversation about how Texas shaped the life of musician Janis Joplin with biographer Holly George-Warren.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: Electricity is back for all but about 80,000 CenterPoint Energy customers in the Houston metro area, but, as we largely escaped the worst of Nicholas, some communities south and east of us saw a little more damage. We check in with Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta about storm surge damage and flooding in Surfside Beach. Also this hour: We break down the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then, today the Inspiration4 crew is scheduled to launch into space, becoming the first-ever all-civilian orbital flight around the earth. Launching with them will be several experiments designed to study their health -- experiments developed by a Houston-based research effort called TRISH, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health. We talk with one of their scientists about what the project will be studying and how it might benefit life back on the ground. And a documentary that's screening this week tells the stories of students who survived the 2018 school shooting at Santa Fe High School. We talk with Charlie Minn, director of The Kids of Santa Fe: The Largest Unknown Mass Shooting.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: We devote the hour to bringing you the latest on what was Hurricane Nicholas, its impact on Greater Houston, and efforts to deal with its aftermath. We talk with meteorologist Eric Berger of Space City Weather, Harris County emergency management officials, and News 88.7 reporters in the field.
On Monday's Houston Matters: We bring you the latest on Tropical Storm Nicholas, which has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to drop 5 to 10 inches of rain on the region — or more in some places. Also this hour: Listeners share their advice on preparing for severe weather. And the Texans kicked off their season with a win against the Jaguars. We recap the victory and get an update on other developments in Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas over its newly enacted abortion law. We learn more about the move and what it could mean for the law going forward. Then, as the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, we continue to explore how those events affected Houstonians. We devote most of the hour to memories from Houstonians of that day, plus a conversation with local Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans about the unique challenges they face, and Houstonian Larry Catuzzi talks about his dauther, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, who was one of the passengers aboard United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennslyvania that day. Lauren's Garden, a 9/11 memorial in downtown Houston, is named after her. LISTEN: How 9/11 Affected Houston – Pt. 1 (Sept. 9, 2021)
On Thursday's Houston Matters: Mayor Sylvester Turner has issued an executive order requiring unvaccinated city employees to get bimonthly COVID-19 tests and report results to the city. We hear about that and other happenings in City Council from News 88.7's Jen Rice. Then, as the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, we explore how those events affected Houstonians. We devote most of the hour to memories from Houstonians of that day, a conversation with Houstonians from different generations about how they perceive that event and its impact, and a discussion about the impact it's had on American Muslims as illustrated in a new book for middle school kids by local writer Saadia Faruqi called, Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero. LISTEN: How 9/11 Affected Houston – Pt. 2 (Sept. 10, 2021)
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: Gov. Greg Abbott has called a third special session of the Texas Legislature, beginning Sept. 20, to address redistricting and other conservative priorities. We preview the next special session and recap what legislation came out of the recently-ended second one. Also this hour: We discuss all the other state, local, and national news in our weekly political roundup. Then, is the U.S. military too big? Jeremi Suri explains why he thinks so. Suri is a public affairs and history professor at UT Austin who recently wrote a guest essay for The New York Times saying just that. And the Texans begin their new season Sunday when the team hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. The team's kicker, Kaʻimi Fairbairn, discusses the pressures of being a kicker in the NFL.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: We get the latest updates on COVID-19 in the region from Harris County Public Health. Also this hour: Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher joins us to answer your questions. Then, we learn from reporter Sara Willa Ernst about an investigation into heat-related deaths in Texas. And Meg Tapp from the Garden Club of Houston answers questions about gardening as we head towards the fall season.
On Friday's Houston Matters: Lucio Vasquez updates us on the latest information with children being hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region. Also this hour: We discuss how we should talk about the pandemic in the media. Then, we break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And Joshua Zinn talks with gaming experts at the Galveston Island Esports Summit.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: We talk with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and Texas Right To Life about their response to the new Texas abortion law that went into effect yesterday. Also this hour: How much do you know about hurricane preparation? Care to take a quiz? Then, how do you navigate life in a vibrant city with color vision deficiency? We talk with someone who does just that. And there's a noticeable lack of movie theaters inside the Loop compared to the suburbs--we look at why.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: We get a summary of some of the 666 new laws going into effect today in Texas. And we get an update on COVID-19. Also this hour: We break down the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then, local writers discuss their favorite food trucks in Greater Houston in this month's installment of The Full Menu. And we meet Christopher Blay, the new chief curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: We learn how Houston is helping those affected by Hurricane Ida and talk to someone taking refuge here. And we get an update on COVID-19. Also this hour: City Council Member Abbie Kamin answers your questions about issues facing the city. Then, we often hear about the so-called “great crew change” in the oil and gas industry with skilled workers retiring faster than new talent can be acquired and trained to take their place. But another part of that is getting more women into that pipeline. We talk with someone who hasperspective on that -- and what it's like to be a woman in leadership in the oil and gas world - Stephanie Hertzog, CEO of Houston-based Sodexo Energy & Resources North America. And producer Joshua Zinn visits a local trade school, the Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School in Pasadena, to learn how schools like it are preparing students for careers.
On Monday's Houston Matters: The latest on Tropical Storm Ida. We're just now beginning to get a sense of the devastation wrought by the now-downgraded storm, which tore through New Orleans and other communities in and around the Louisiana Gulf Coast, making landfall as a category 4 hurricane. Also this hour: As the American withdrawal from Afghanistan continues in the wake of last week's terror attacks, we hear from a former combat interpreter who's now living in Houston and has become a U.S. citizen in an extended conversation with News 88.7's Andrew Schneider. Then, how HISD has employed a chihuahua to help students in crisis. We learn more the PAWS program, which stands for Pet Assisted Wellness Support. And the latest developments in Houston sports.
On Friday's show: Eric Berger of Space City Weather gives us the latest on Tropical Storm Ida as it enters the Gulf of Mexico and heads for the Louisiana coastline. Also this hour: Today marks 31 years since the death of musician and Texas native Stevie Ray Vaughan. Of course, he is still fondly remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of his era – or any other. We revisit a conversation from 2019 reflecting on Stevie Ray Vaughan's life, legacy, and music. Plus: A lawsuit over a famous album cover and a new use for Texas tumbleweeds are just some of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week's news. And soccer star Nadia Nadim is in town with her team, Racing Louisville FC, to play the Houston Dash on Sunday. We hear the story of her family's escape from her native Afghanistan when the Taliban first seized power more than 20 years ago. It's a preview her hour-long conversation on this weekend's edition of I See U with Eddie Robinson.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: We get an update on the COVID-19 situation in Montgomery County. Also this hour: We talk with Vanessa Wyche, the director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. She's a NASA veteran who's the first African American to serve in that role and previously was the JSC's deputy director. Then, the new Hulu documentary Homeroom chronicles the challenges faced by the senior class of 2020 at one high school during what was a very unusual year. It's the subject of this month's installment of The Bigger Picture. And Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove talks about her latest collection, Playlist for the Apocalypse, and how she embodies other voices to write from their perspective -- including that of a spring cricket. Dove will read from her collection in a livestream discussion from Inprint on Monday (Aug. 30).
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: Today, Houston City Council will consider, among other things, an agenda item to establish a Houston Women's Commission in their meeting. News 88.7 reporter Jen Rice brings us an update on several issues before the council. Also this hour: Harris Co. Commissioner Tom Ramsey, who represents Precinct 3, answers your questions. Send yours now to email@example.com. Then, while a new school year is underway for K-12, many college students are returning to class as well. And plenty of them are non-traditional students who might have kids of their own and are working at the same time. We learn how one area university is working to meet their needs. And we revisit a 2017 conversation about how the classic Western movie High Noon clashed with the anti-Communist fervor of the 1950s.
On Monday's Houston Matters: A brand-new school year is beginning today for HISD amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 and the ongoing battle over mask mandates. We visit one HISD campus to see what parents are saying as their kids start a new year. And we discuss the challenges kids face this year beyond their health. Also this hour: Concerns over adding a fee to your electric bill that could reimburse some companies who happened to make a lot of money during the February power failure. Then, veterinarian Dr. Lori Teller answers your questions. And we get an update on Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: The city's health authority, Dr. David Persse, updates us on the COVID-19 situation. Over the last several weeks, as U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan and then as the Taliban seized control of the country, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston was busy resettling refugees from that nation here in the region. We learn more about that process and what some of them gave up. Also this hour: We discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And how Bellaire High School teacher Trevor Boffone used dance videos to help him connect with students – and went viral in the process. We preview his hour-long conversation on this weekend's edition of I See U with Eddie Robinson.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: COVID-19 booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will become available for all Americans starting next month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine explains how boosters work, who needs one, and updates us the fourth wave of the virus. And Dr. Lara Shekerdemian of Texas Children's Hospital discusses how it's affecting children. Also this hour: With recent events in Afghanistan and Haiti in mind – along with other developments outside our borders – what could Houston do to be more engaged with the rest of the world? We talk it over with former Ambassador Michael Pelletier, executive director of the University of Houston Institute for Global Engagement. Then, we revisit our conversation with author and historian Jon Meacham about his biography Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: The Texas Medical Center this week reported a new record in average daily hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The previous high was 360 in July of 2020 with a new average of 369 daily hospitalizations as of this week. Bill McKeon, the head of the Texas Medical Center, joins us with an update. Also this hour: From the situation in Afghanistan to the ongoing battle over mask mandates, we discuss the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then we revisit our 2017 conversation with former astronaut Scott Kelly about spending a year in space. And a new movie shot in Houston is part heist film, part discussion about the nature of God. We talk with local director Scott Brignac about Playing God.
On Tuesday's Houston Matters: The region is on pace to exceed 4,000 total COVID-19 hospitalizations, eclipsing the previous record for Greater Houston established back in July 2020. We discuss what that means for area hospitals with Dr. David Callender, president and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Hospital System. Also this hour: Houston City Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz joins us to discuss issues affecting the city. Then we revisit a discussion about the role of the comments section on many news sites and how that -- along with social media -- allow us to comment about almost everything pretty much all the time. In that environment, how can the media cut through the noise and spur meaningful public discussion? And we revisit a conversation from 2015 about how the invention of air conditioning allowed Houston to become the city it is today.
On Monday's Houston Matters: On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency stay that reinstates Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning local municipalities and officials from issuing mask mandates. Last week, Dallas, Bexar, and Harris Counties all secured temporary restraining orders from state judges blocking that executive order. The ruling is temporary with the court still to make a final ruling in the case. We learn what the ruling means for the state and for the lawsuit recently filed by Harris County. Also this hour: This week marks six months since the deadly power failure that crippled Texas. Mose Buchele, energy and environment for KUT in Austin, discusses what led to that disaster and how it's being addressed, which is the subject of his new podcast, The Disconnect: Power, Politics and the Texas Blackout. Then, according to a new study, more than half of all the buildings in the lower 48 states are in disaster hotspots, threatened by future storms, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and earthquakes. But then, we knew that, right? Here in the Houston area, basically every building exists under such threat. We may not be able to do much about the already built environment, but what more can we do to ensure we protect new developments as much as possible? And we get an update on Houston sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has ordered all public schools and daycares in the county to require masks. Plus, the CDC has updated its guidance for pregnant women regarding COVID-19 vaccines. We talk through what you should know about pboth of these developments. Also this hour: We take a closer look at how the infrastructure bill just passed in the Senate might affect Greater Houston. Then, from Pizza Hut's new clothing line to an asteroid threatening earth (in 280 years), we discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And Anthony Graves talks about being wrongfully convicted of murder and spending 18 years in prison — much of it in solitary confinement and a stint on death row. It's a preview of an extended conversation he'll have with Eddie Robinson on this week's edition of I See U.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: Harris County leaders have approved the county attorney's request to take legal action against the state of Texas over Gov. Greg Abbott's orders banning mask and vaccine mandates. Also this week, in legal action taken by other Texas municipalities, court rulings allowed local authorities the power to temporarily issue mask mandates in the face of Abbott's orders. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee joins us to explain what action Harris County is taking. Plus we hear from Fort Bend County Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson. And a legal expert discusses this, the latest salvo in a long-running battle over state and local powers. Also this hour: As COVID-19 cases surge again, we welcome your questions about mental health for Dr. Jonathan Stevens, the head of outpatient services at the Menninger Clinic. And, did you know there's a wobble in the moon's orbit? It's normal. It's natural. It's happened before. It also affects the earth's tides. We find out what it could mean for the Gulf Coast in the coming decades.
On Wednesday's Houston Matters: If nothing changes, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas are predicted to exceed previous records from the height of the pandemic last summer. How are hospitals preparing? Also this hour: Local experts discuss the latest news in our weekly political roundup. Then, will college students returning to campus be required to wear masks? It depends on where you're enrolled. We learn how area colleges and universities are preparing for the start of the fall semester amid the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. And a group of college friends tied to a brutal crime returns to campus for their ten-year reunion. That's the setup for a new suspense novel from Houston writer Ashley Winstead called In My Dreams I Hold a Knife.
On Tuesday's show: Last week, Harris Health System's Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital declared an internal state of emergency over a sharp increase in COVID-19 patients and a nursing shortage. This week, that county safety net hospital's ICU is at capacity with 63 percent of its patients being treated for COVID. Now, the hospital has brought back its overflow tents to deal with the spike in cases. We hear from the vice president of the hospital system and from the head of another local hospital. Also this hour: New Houston ISD Superintendent Millard House II announced last week the district would weigh a mask mandate as soon as next week. If passed, the measure would likely make HISD the first school district in Texas at odds with an order from Gov. Greg Abbott banning such mandates. Superintendent House joins us to discuss that and other issues facing the state's largest school district -- and to take your questions. Then, Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia answers your questions about issues related to county government. And the Longhorns and the Sooners are leaving the Big 12 conference. How are the three remaining Texas schools reacting?
On Monday's Houston Matters: COVID infection rates in Greater Houston continue to rise. We talk with a critical care physician about what ERs saw over the weekend. And a second special session of the Texas Legislature began Saturday without a quorum as Democrats stay out of the state in order to block a controversial GOP elections bill. Also this hour: Instead of continually expanding and widening our state's highways, what if we removed them altogether? An investigation by The Texas Observer examines the idea of freeway removal. Then, a local organization works to create a more Compassionate Houston, especially after a stressful, challenging 18 months. And we get an update on local sports.
On Friday's Houston Matters: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised the county's COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon as the delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region's hospital resources over the past month. It's the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020. Dr. Esmaeil Porsa of Harris Health System updates us on the burden this rise in cases has created for the area's public hospitals. Also this hour: A woman who died in 1966 in a swimming pool in West Texas remained unidentified for more than half a century. We learn how a unique company in The Woodlands called Othram was involved in giving her -- and many others like her -- a name. And we remember former Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, who passed away this week at the age of 71. Then, from rumors of an NFL team moving to Austin, to a couple relocating 450,000 honeybees found in the home they'd just purchased, we break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week. And, while legendary music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have worked with many big names in R&B over the years, it's taken them nearly four decades to release an album with their own names on the cover. It's called Jam & Lewis: Volume One. We hear a portion of their conversation with Eddie Robinson for his program I See U, which airs this weekend.
On Thursday's Houston Matters: What do you get with a nursing shortage and a spike in patients? Nearly a 24-hour wait time at one area hospital. We learn more about what nurses are facing in this 16th month of the pandemic. Also this hour: As more and more Houstonians get back on the roads to travel and commute to work, what are the things people don't miss about less vehicles on the road -- and what are the things drivers should remember to avoid angering everyone around you? We talk it over and take your questions and comments. Then, we conclude our series on Olympic sports in Houston by talking with some area climbers. Sport climbing is a new addition at the Tokyo Games. And, with an ongoing pandemic, how have local performing arts groups kept their audiences till now -- and how will they do so going forward?