Groundbreaking held for joint inmate processing center

October 26th, 2015

Harris-County-Joint-Processing-CenterHouston Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and other city and county officials broke ground Tuesday on a joint inmate processing center that will consolidate and streamline all local inmate booking processes into one facility.

The $100 million processing center – to be built north of Buffalo Bayou downtown and next door to the county’s Baker Street Jail – will be built with bonds approved by county voters in November 2013. Construction will require no tax increase; the county will pay off the bonds with savings produced by the new facility’s operation.

The 246,000-square-foot Joint Processing Center is expected to be complete by the end of 2017. It will handle all inmate bookings and releases for the city and county, eliminating the redundancy of operating two separate systems, as is done now. As a result, the city will be able to shut down its two city jails, freeing up 100 more officers for law-enforcement functions and save about $4 million a year in operational expenses. In exchange, the city will contribute $30 million to the building of the center and will pay the county an additional booking fee per inmate.

The four-floor facility will hold as many as 1,520 inmates and will boast enhanced areas for medical and mental health screening and diversion stations to help provide alternatives to incarceration and expedited processes for paying bonds or fines on the spot. The result is expected to be significantly reduced booking times, allowing city police and county sheriff’s deputies to return to their patrols more quickly.

Overall management of the JPC will be controlled by Harris County.  The Houston Police Department will have dedicated space for its officers to use for compiling reports, drunk driving testing, investigations, evidence control and processing of its Class C prisoners.

The current timeline calls for the first inmates to be transferred to the processing center in December 2017, with the city’s jails slated for closure in January 2018.

PGAL is the project architect, and Clark-Horizon JV is construction manager.

WHO:
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett
Houston Mayor Annise Parker
Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland

WHAT:
Groundbreaking Ceremony

WHEN:
Noon, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, 700 N. San Jacinto St.

Mayor Proclaims Lunar Rendezvous Festival Day in Houston

July 13th, 2015

Houston Mayor Annise Parker holds up the proclamation as she stops for a photo with, from left, Councilman Michael Kubosh, Terri Dieste, Festival Capt. Jack Mullen and Queen Alternate Demerle Monks, District E Councilman Dave Martin, Festival Queen Allison Powell, Jill Williams, Michael Landolt, Kippy Caraway, Gloria Wong, Mary Ann Shallberg and Annette Dwyer.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker holds up the proclamation as she stops for a photo with, from left, Councilman Michael Kubosh, Terri Dieste, Festival Capt. Jack Mullen and Queen Alternate Demerle Monks, District E Councilman Dave Martin, Festival Queen Allison Powell, Jill Williams, Michael Landolt, Kippy Caraway, Gloria Wong, Mary Ann Shallberg and Annette Dwyer.

Proclamation recognizes 50 years of contributions to the Bay Area

Houston Mayor Annise Parker officially declared July 7 as Lunar Rendezvous Festival 50th Anniversary Day in Houston, kicking off a busy month of events for the much-loved festival.

The proclamation, presented by Houston City Council members Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin, recognized the long-running festival for its continued contributions to the Clear Lake area.

The Lunar Rendezvous Festival originated following the opening of the Johnson Space Center, offering cultural amenities to aerospace families moving to the area and saluting man’s achievements in space, including the history-making 1965 rendezvous of Gemini VI and Gemini VII in space.

In the past 10 years alone, the Lunar Rendezvous Festival, a non-profit organization, has given back more than $1.5 million to the Bay Area Houston community. This year, $100,000 in college scholarships has already been awarded to deserving students, and another $80,000 will be awarded to local non-profits, with a focus on education, children’s causes, and cultural arts. Lunar Rendezvous Festival also founded the Bay Area Museum, which it continues to maintain.

Over the years, the festival has grown from a number of events taking place over a 10-day period to a series of events that now stretch over five or six months.

The festival typically includes a golf tournament, a tennis tournament, a 5-K run, a non-denominational Sunset Service, a dining night, a boat parade, a family fun night, a fashion show and a ball, along with a few other events, which are all open to the public. Thousands of volunteers have contributed to the success of the organization since 1965.

From the beginning, an important part of the festival is recognizing the community’s future leaders. Each year, local high school juniors are selected to participate in the festival based on their academic achievements and volunteer activities.

During the festival, these outstanding young men and women organize community service projects, take part in festival events, and are presented to the community at a Coronation Ball.

The proclamation was presented to Jill Williams, chairman of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival’s Advisory Board, and Michael Landolt, chairman of the festival’s Board of Directors. Also present for the proclamation were Advisory Board members Annette Dwyer and Teri Dieste; Mary Ann Shallberg, Gloria Wong and Kippy Caraway, who serve on the Board of Directors; Lunar Rendezvous Festival 2014-2015 Royals, Queen Allison Powell, Queen Alternate Demerle Monks and Captain Jack Mullen; and festival volunteers Justine Powell and Sara Mullen.

The festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout 2015. For more information about Lunar Rendezvous and upcoming events, go to www.lunarrendezvous.org