TSTC announces proposed Fort Bend County campus

17 04 2015

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) this week announced a proposed new campus in Fort Bend County. Officials are awaiting approval by the Texas Legislature of a bill that has already passed the Texas House and would authorize construction of the first 110,000-square-foot building that would become part of what is expected to be a six- to eight-building campus. If the bill passes, classes could begin at TSTC in Fort Bend County as early as fall 2016 and eventually serve the needs of more than 5,000 students.

“Fort Bend County is the sixth fastest growing county in the nation – making this a prime location for expansion,” said TSTC Vice Chancellor and Chief Execution Officer Randall E. Wooten. Fort Bend County citizens, local government officials and industry representatives in the county have voiced their support for the new campus.

The college currently offers career training in Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology and Precision Manufacturing at the Wharton County Junior College Fort Bend Technical Center. Plans are to support additional high-tech, high-paying career fields at the new location including Industrial Systems Technology, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Cyber Security, Telecommunications and Welding Technology as well as Commercial Truck Driving as a continuing education offering.





School Shootings: Inventor creates device designed to slow down an active shooter

15 01 2013

As we know from the recent shooting tragedies in our country, most recently the school shooting in Newtown Connecticut, there is now much contentious discussion on what should be done to stop such shootings.  Some think it involves gun control laws; others feel it involves more training for citizens and teachers; and others feel it involves spending more more to bolster the mental health systems in the United States.  In all likelihood, it will probably involve some changes in all of the above.  And, as we all know, shootings will probably still take place.  There is no one magical solution that will stop the horror of shootings in malls and schools. 

However, one former teach in Pennsylvania has created a device that may add another piece of the puzzle; a piece that will not stop all shootings, but simply might slow down the ability of an active shooter to enter individual classrooms in a school.  This could be very important device since it seems that many of these shooters end their own lives at the first sign of intervention by law enforcement.  The key would seem to be to slow down the shooters ability to kill and give law enforcement more time to get to the scene to remove the threat.  Here is information from WTAE (Channel 4 News) in Pittsburgh:

Teacher’s invention won’t stop shootings, but can keep students safer
 
The elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has created a heightened awareness for students and teachers across the country as they prepare to return to the classroom after the holidays, but a Westmoreland County man’s invention could help keep them safer.

“We in law enforcement need to be speeded up as much as we can, and we need to be able to slow down the actor as much as we can so those two events cross paths,” said Penn Township Police Chief John Otto.

That’s where the JAMBLOCK comes in. The lightweight piece of steel was invented by a Bob Ploskunak, who spent a combined 35 years as a teacher and a security director for the Woodland Hills School District.

“It saves time. It creates time for the police to respond,” said Ploskunak.

The JAMBLOCK is already in classrooms and offices in two area school districts and has been drawing more interest since the Newtown shooting.

“Parents are starting to ask school districts, ‘What are they doing?’ Parents are more concerned now. They’re pushing the issue versus dusting off the old security plan,” said Ploskunak.

During an emergency, a teacher could place the JAMBLOCK under a classroom door and secure it in place. Even if someone broke through the glass and tried to nudge the handle, it still wouldn’t open.

“It’s not the answer, but it gets us closer to the answer, and that’s what we need to do,” said Ploskunak.

The JAMBLOCK costs about $80.

This appears to be an interesting invention.  I am not sure what law enforcement thinks about the invention.  And, there could be some issues related to health and safety codes, but it does offer a new way to think about how to improve school safety.  The video of the WTAE report can be found at:

http://www.wtae.com/news/local/westmoreland/Teacher-s-invention-won-t-stop-shootings-but-can-keep-students-safer/-/10932546/17939106/-/ciwsms/-/index.html#ixzz2HONrV0FQ

 




Katy ISD prepares for hurricane season

10 06 2012

The following is from a Katy Independent School District news release:

The 2012 hurricane season officially begins on June 1, yet there have already been two named storms this year. As such, Katy ISD is preparing for tropical weather hazards and reminds families to prepare as well by making a plan, putting together a hurricane survival kit, and staying informed. The Houston region has many helpful resources to guide students, parents, and school personnel through these three steps.

“In order for Katy ISD to be ready for storms we need our personnel, students, and our students’ families to be prepared,” said John Bremer, Katy ISD emergency management coordinator. “Prepared families help us by allowing us time to close schools and secure the buildings well ahead of the threat. We know our personnel need time to take care of family. We also know our business partners may need to evacuate essential employees and their families. If families are prepared, then we can make better decisions about school operations.”

Katy ISD’s partners at Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management have prepared tools for families to use as they prepare for hurricane season. These tools include a brochure on Hurricane Preparedness and a preparedness checklist. The Ready Houston regional preparedness page also has helpful information on how to prepare for disasters, including hurricanes at: www.readyhoustontx.gov/.

“Make a plan, put together a survival kit, and stay informed are the three steps Katy ISD uses to prepare for hurricane season; these are the same steps students, parents and school personnel can use to be ready,” added Bremer. “Hurricane season is less frightening when you have prepared.”

District preparations include reviewing and updating its tropical weather annex to the emergency operations plan; coordinating its planning with regional partners in Fort Bend, Harris and Waller Counties; and making sure that emergency resources are available and ready should a storm threaten the Texas Gulf Coast. In order to respond ahead of any storm, Katy ISD stays informed by working closely with the National Weather Service, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management.





2011 Texas Legislative Session – March 2nd

2 03 2011

Below you will find a listing of  Emergency Management related bills as of March 2, 2011.    Information about thirty-three bills is shown below.

The 82nd Texas Legislature will be in session 140 days.  The first day of the session was Tuesday, January 11, 2011 and the last day of the session is Monday, May 30, 2011.  The last day to file regular bills be Friday, March 11, 2011.  Governor Perry has until June 19th to review bills passed by the State Legislature.  He can sign a bill to authorize new law, or he can let a bill become law without signing, or he can veto a bill.

HB 1  – (Pitts) Relating to General Appropriations.  Among other things, this bill would reduce expenditures for 9-1-1 Network by 27%; reduce by 48% disaster funding to state and local agencies when the Governor finds the demands on funds regularly appropriated are insufficient to respond to a particular disaster; reduce by Criminal Justice grants by 55%, impacting the number of grants awarded from an estimated 900 in FY 2011 to approximately 520 each fiscal year of the 2012-13 biennium; and eliminate funding for the Flood Control Dam Grant Program which provides operations and maintenance, structural repair, and rehabilitation needs to flood control dams across the State.

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances

HB 803 – (Bonnen) Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area.  SB 432 is identical

HB 805 – (Callegari) Relating the requirement that certain water service providers ensure emergency operations during an extended power outage

HB 837 – (Taylor, Van) Relating to the authority of peace officers to request thumbprints during motor vehicle stops

HB 993 – (Rodriguez, E.)  Relating to the closure of a road or highway by certain firefighters

HB 1030 – (Miller) Relating to the powers and duties of certain emergency services districts

HB 1075 – (Anderson) Relating to the consolidation of certain alert system into a single statewide alert system and to the addition of other factors that will prompt an alert under the consolidated system

HB 1092 – (Christian)  Relating to the exemption from certain construction requirements for volunteer fire departments in certain counties

HB 1125 – (Burnam)  Relating to a study regarding the odorization of natural gas transported in gathering and transmission lines located in populated areas

HB 1147 – (Smith) Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products.  SB 442 is identical

HB 1174 – (Workman) Relating to the expiration of a county burn ban

HB 1217 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty

HB 1319 – (Laubenberg) Relating to the calculation and reporting of water usage and conservation by municipalities and water utilities

HB 1354 – (Davis, S.)  Relating to liability of certain certified municipal inspector for services rendered during an emergency or disaster

HB 1379 – (Anchia)  Relating to the purchasing of a firearm from the county by an honorably retired law enforcement officer

HB 1476  –  (Riddle)  Relating to the grounds for revocation of an emergency medical services personnel certification

HB 1561  –  (Orr)  Relating to the authority of a municipality to implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system and impose civil penalties

HB 1619 – (Orr)  Relating to emergency services districts

HB 1711 – (Davis, John)  Relating to disaster remediation contracts; providing penalties

HB 1750 – (Darby)  Relating to the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to lease and contract for the operation of rolling stock during certain emergencies

HB 1765 – (Miller, Sid)  Relating to an emergency public service messaging network.  Identical to SB 971

HB 1791 – (Kleinschmidt)  Relating to emergency services districts

HB 1861 – (Anchia)  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Commission on State Emergency Communications

HB 1878 – (Miller, Doug)  Relating to emergency service districts.  Identical to SB 917

HB 1911 – (Bonnen)  Relating to the liability of certain persons for damages arising from training exercises to prepare the persons to respond to certain emergencies

HB 1917 – (Schwertner)  Relating to the removal of appointed emergency services commissioners by a commissioners court

HB 1986 – (Turner)  Relating to the authority of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to ensure the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has adequate reserve power to prevent blackout conditions

SB 106 – (Davis, Wendy)  Relating to condemnation of municipal property for, and municipal regulation of, pipeline operations

SB 389 – (Williams)  Relating to emergency preparedness during an extended power outage of a water service provider with at lease 250 connections

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting

SB 617  –  (Rodriguez)  Relating a manifest system to record the transportation of certain liquid wastes

SB 917 – (Wentworth)  Relating to emergency service districts

SB 969 – (Nelson)  Relating to the establishment of the Public Health Funding and Policy Advisory Committee with the Department of State Health Services

For a PDF listing:  billreport 3-02-11

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Thanks to those of you who have contacted me and made suggestions.

Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.





2011 Texas Legislative Session – February 22nd

22 02 2011

Below you will find a listing of Emergency Management related bills as of February 22, 2011.  As you will note, I have included some summary information for HB 1, the General Appropriations Bill. 

HB 1  – (Pitts) Relating to General Appropriations.  Among other things, this bill would reduce expenditures for 9-1-1 Network by 27%; reduce by 48% disaster funding to state and local agencies when the Governor finds the demands on funds regularly appropriated are insufficient to respond to a particular disaster; reduce by Criminal Justice grants by 55%, impacting the number of grants awarded from an estimated 900 in FY 2011 to approximately 520 each fiscal year of the 2012-13 biennium; and eliminate funding for the Flood Control Dam Grant Program which provides operations and maintenance, structural repair, and rehabilitiation needs to flood control dams across the State.

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances

HB 803 – (Bonnen) Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area.  SB 432 is identical.

HB 805 – (Callegari) Relating the requirement that certain water service providers ensure emergency operations during an extended power outage

HB 837 – (Taylor, Van) Relating to the authority of peace officers to request thumbprints during motor vehicle stops

HB 993 – (Rodriguez, E.)  Relating to the closure of a road or highway by certain firefighters

HB 1030 – (Miller) Relating to the powers and duties of certain emergency services districts

HB 1075 – (Anderson) Relating to the consolidation of certain alert system into a single statewide alert system and to the addition of other factors that will prompt an alert under the consolidated system

HB 1092 – (Christian) Relating to the exemption from certain construction requirements for volunteer fire departments in certain counties

HB 1147 – (Smith) Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products.  SB 442 is identical.

HB 1174 – (Workman) Relating to the expiration of a county burn ban

HB 1217 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty

HB 1319 – (Laubenberg) Relating to the calculation and reporting of water usage and conservation by municipalities and water utilities

HB 1354 – (Davis, S.)  Relating to liability of certain certified municipal inspector for services rendered during an emergency or disaster

HB 1476  –  (Riddle)  Relating to the grounds for revocation of an emergency medical services personnel certification

HB 1561  –  (Orr)  Relating to the authority of a municipality to implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system and impose civil penalties

SB 389 – (Williams)  Relating to emergency preparedness during an extended power outage of a water service provider with at lease 250 connections

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting

SB 432   –   (Jackson)  Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area.  HB 803 is identical.

SB 617  –  (Rodriguez)  Relating a manifest system to record the transportation of certain liquid wastes

SB 648  – (Whitmire)  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Commission on State Emergency Communications.

For a PDF listing the above bills:   billreport 2-22-11

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Thanks to those of you who have contacted me and made suggestions.

Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.





2011 Texas Legislative Session – February 13th

13 02 2011

Below you will find a listing of Emergency Management related bills as of February 13, 2011:

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances

HB 1030 – (Miller) Relating to the powers and duties of certain emergency services districts

HB 1075 – (Anderson) Relating to the consolidation of certain alert system into a single statewide alert system and to the addition of other factors that will prompt an alert under the consolidated system

HB 1092 – (Christian) Relating to the exemption from certain construction requirements for volunteer fire departments in certain counties

HB 1147 – (Smith) Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products

HB 1174 – (Workman) Relating to the expiration of a county burn ban

HB 1217 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting

SB 432   –   (Jackson)  Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area

For a PDF listing the above bills:   billreport 2-13-11

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.





2011 Texas Legislative Session – January 28th

28 01 2011

As I did two years ago, I will try to use this blog to keep readers updated on emergency management related bills being considered by the Texas House and the Texas Senate.  Below you will find a listing of Emergency Management related bills as of January 28, 2011:

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting

SB 432   –   (Jackson)  Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area

For a PDF listing the above bills:  billreport 1-28-11

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.