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Houston News Digest

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September News Digest

Houston is recovering after devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit Texas for more than 50 years.  Around 200,000 houses were damaged in a path of destruction stretching more than 480 kilometres and a million residents forced from their homes.

The  Houston area had 1.4 metres of rain. Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed former Shell Oil Co. executive chairman and president Marvin Odum as the city’s chief recovery officer to lead the recovery effort and position the city to be less vulnerable to future storms. Mayor Turner has asked him to recommend “bold moves to get us out of our comfort zone.”

Houston City Council will vote on 18 October on a proposal to impose a temporary property tax rise of 8.9% to raise  $110 million for the hurricane recovery effort.  The one year hike would increase the current tax from 58.64 cents per $100 of property value to 63.87 cents. Currently the average home in Houston valued at $225, 000 has to pay $1321 in property tax a year. Under the proposal this would rise by $118 for one year. It has been estimated that clearing debris will cost more than $200 million alone although the bulk of this cost will be met by federal government.

The  Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett had raised $61 million by mid-September. It is being administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

The devastation caused  Hurricane Harvey put a question mark over the study visit to Houston by Aberdeen student nurses Kimberley Tosh and Chloe Sangster in the 2017 the Grampian-Houston exchange scheme. However, the visit to Houston Baptist University went ahead as planned and the four students – Kimberley, Chloe, Celeste Ross and Amelia Holt - are pictured here with Houston/Grampian Chairman Mary Metz M.B.E. (right).

New members are being invited to attend the Houston/Grampian Association’s annual general meeting on 24 October when a new President will be appointed. The business meeting will be followed by a Conversation and Curry evening at the Nirvana Restaurant, 14545 Memorial Drive. Membership dues remain at $35 for individuals nd $50 for couples.