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Houston News Digest

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March News Digest

Mayor Sylvester Turner entered into the spirit of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo by joining in  the Downtown Rodeo Roundup to get the 2017 event underway on 7 March.  It runs until 26 March and is the city's signature event much like New Orleans' Mardi Gras, New York City's New Year's Eve in Times Square and Dallas's Texas State Fair. Last year a total of 2,462,030 attended the concerts and agricultural events with attendance at the rodeo itself topping  1,345,000. Willie Nelson is among the big name entertainers appearing this month. Since 1957 proceeds from the rodeo  have provided scholarships for Texas students and now more than 750 receive grants each year.

Houston Grand Opera has been nominated for the  Best Opera Company at the International Opera Awards at the London Coliseum on 7 May.  It is the only  contender from the U.S.  Others in the running  for the prestigious  award are London's Royal Opera House, Milan's  La Scala, Opera de Lyon,  Stuttgart Opera  and Opera Vlaanderen, Antwerp.

The Houston metropolitan area recorded the second highest economic growth in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. The economy grew by 28% which was bettered only by the San Joe metropolitan area in California with 36% growth.  Wage growth of 7.5% over the same period put Houston at No 14 out of 100 U.S. metro areas. Median income in Houston in 2015 was $34,988, according to a study by the Brookings Institute.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has approved a $1 million economic development grant towards the cost of infrastructure required for the proposed Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport. It is one of 10 commercial spaceport planned in the U.S. Houston Airport System has partnered with several state and local universities to engage in research and job training in the aerospace field.

A former adviser to President Obama has joined Houston City Council as the Mayor's Officer for People with Disabilities. Maria Town previously worked in the White House Office of Public Engagement where she was a senior associate director and disability community liaison.

A former Grampian-Houston Association Board member Mrs Joy Gordon died  on 27 January. She and her late husband Stuart participated in exchange delegations to Houston and were long-standing supporters of the Grampian association.