New restrictions coming for Houston-area counties due to COVID-19; former superintendent accused of theft and more top local news

As of Jan. 5, the Texas Department of State Health Services recorded COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q–which includes Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties–surpassed the 15% total capacity threshold from Dec. 29-Jan. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
As of Jan. 5, the Texas Department of State Health Services recorded COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q–which includes Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties–surpassed the 15% total capacity threshold from Dec. 29-Jan. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

As of Jan. 5, the Texas Department of State Health Services recorded COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q–which includes Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties–surpassed the 15% total capacity threshold from Dec. 29-Jan. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Houston area.

Greater Houston

New restrictions on horizon for Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high

Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties could see public health restrictions tighten as a result of increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to data by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Bay Area



League City to receive COVID-19 vaccinations from Galveston County

The Galveston County Health District Is offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine—one of two available coronavirus vaccines—to county residents, including in League City, who meet certain criteria.

BREAKING: Former New Caney ISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin accused of stealing at least $30K from district, tampering with government record

New Caney ISD's former Superintendent Kenn Franklin, who suddenly left his position in mid-November, was arrested at 3:05 p.m. Jan. 7 and charged with alleged theft of at least $30,000 and tampering with a government record, according to arrest records from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Harris County

Bars closed, businesses back to 50% capacity in Harris County as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain above 15% threshold

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q—which includes Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend and six other surrounding counties—exceeded 15% of total hospital capacity for the past seven consecutive days, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Montgomery County

UPDATED: Keough allows outdoor gatherings of 10 or more in Montgomery County

In the Jan. 6 video posted to social media, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough stated the county will allow outdoor gatherings of 10 people or more, in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's GA-32 executive order.

Adriana Rezal, Jake Magee, Kelly Schafler and Danica Lloyd contributed to this report.





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(Courtesy Royalty Meat Company)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Royalty Meat Company now open and more

Here is a roundup of business news for Clear Lake and League City.

Costco Business Centers, of which there are only about 15 in the country, carry different products and provide a different shopping experience to members than do traditional Costco Wholesale stores. (Courtesy Costco Wholesale)
Costco Business Center being built in Stafford; see live music in The Woodlands and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the Houston area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Houston City Council approved ordinances expanding and funding Houston’s BCycle program on April 14. (Courtesy Houston BCycle)
Houston City Council OKs expansion of BCycle sites

City Council approved the addition of 11 new BCycle kiosk bike stations.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

While face masks will remain a requirement for the rest of the 2020-21 school year, a Clear Creek ISD committee has recommended masks be optional for the 2021-22 school year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD committee recommends making face masks optional next school year

While face masks will remain a requirement for the rest of the 2020-21 school year, a Clear Creek ISD committee has recommended masks be optional for the 2021-22 school year.

League City will give up nearly 30 acres of land to Friendswood in exchange for some of the property tax revenue generated by the move after League City City Council’s unanimous vote April 13. (Courtesy city of League City)
League City agrees to land swap with Friendswood

League City will give up nearly 30 acres of land to Friendswood in exchange for some of the property tax revenue generated by the move after League City City Council’s unanimous vote April 13.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.