By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Drink Up, Texas
Sunday liquor sales to close budget gap
The conservative-dominated Texas House has come out with its plan on how to close the state's massive budget gap, and it's not just full of silly stuff like "make state employees pay for parking."
Although that is part of the plan.
No, the conservatives who decry every sin someone else commits have a bold proposal: Open up Texas liquor stores on Sunday.
And then encourage residents to drink their asses off so tax revenue will rise, we guess.
Opening liquor stores on Sunday will not only have the benefit of creating more drunk Texans, it will funnel $7.4 million in taxes to the state government.
And that's $7.4 million using current estimates of liquor sales. Imagine if the Texans have another Kubiak Special of a season — fans are going to need a whole lot of vodka and Jameson's to erase the memories each week.
And now doing so will help Texas! And conservatives!
Texas, by the way, is one of only 14 states that do not allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays.
ID Thief Poses for Sam's Club Card
By Richard Connelly
You've ripped off someone's credit cards, gone on a $2,000 spree at various suburban stores and the cops still haven't caught you. Help 'em out!
That was apparently the thinking of one woman, who in the course of using a stolen credit card got so swept up in the giant olive jars at Sam's (we guess) that she dutifully posed for a photo to get her membership card.
We hope she enjoys her four-pound bottles of ketchup, because now police have a nice picture of her to pass around.
Her next move, we imagine: Using that stolen credit card to go wild at Glamour Shots.
The suspect is described as a black female, 30-40 years of age, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 and weighing 160-170 pounds. She is said to look like she does in the friggin' picture she had taken.
TALES FROM TRANSIT
NEW METRO's New Face
By Richard Connelly
Metro has a new public face: Jerome Gray, the longtime anchor for KHOU and KPRC news.
Gray's contract with KPRC was not renewed last year, possibly because he is no longer 26 years old and perky, if he ever was.
He'll be a VP and "senior press officer" for the transit agency.
"We're excited that Jerome will be leading our press office, lending his expertise as we continue to improve the reputation of the NEW METRO as an agency that is open and transparent," Metro CEO George Greanias said in a statement that continued to attempt to draw a distinction between the NEW METRO and that nasty old Metro. "Jerome understands that to achieve our strategic priority of becoming a trusted community partner, we have to work hand-in-hand with the media and be responsive to the needs and concerns of this community."
And Gray is fully on the NEW METRO wagon! (We wish we had some kind of glorious font to better represent NEW METRO.)
"I am thrilled to be joining the NEW METRO team," Gray said. "It's a great opportunity to help share the story of what's happening at the authority and how it benefits the community. I look forward to working with the media to convey accurate information regarding transportation issues and the NEW METRO."
Gray was on the air at the two stations for more than 20 years, mostly at KHOU. He'll get a salary of $170,000 from Metro, spokeswoman Margaret O'Brien-Molina tells Hair Balls. George Smalley, who had been VP for communications and marketing and led Metro's PR efforts for years, left the agency January 3.
DOING IT DAILY Theres tons of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; youre only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or /rocks or /eating or /artattack).
We found ten charmingly odd postcards from Houston's past, and offered our comments on them. A Houston energy company flew an advertising plane over Rick Perry's inauguration ceremony and drowned out parts of the speech, leading to profuse Twitter apologies. And we posted a nifty video of the Ship Channel at night, shot by a boat pilot.
An alleged pill-mill doctor told us she was running a very legitimate business, even though the details described by state regulators sounded very shady. A group that defends death row inmates said it would rethink selling its fund-raising T-shirts with art by a convicted cop-killer after our story on it. We looked at ten Houston neighborhoods, including Montrose, Garden Oaks and the Fifth Ward, and found just what crimes they had experienced lately.
The UT Longhorns announced they were starting their own TV network in a $300 million deal with ESPN, an announcement that raised more questions than answers. We provided some details on just what fans will be able to enjoy — some of it for free — when the Final Four hits town in a few months. And we spoke with UH quarterback Case Keenum, the school's newest grad student as a result of the NCAA ruling he can come back for another year.