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HUD grants over $1M to tribe for COVID-19 relief

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HUD logo 400x400From Enterprise Staff

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the awarding of $1,035,000 in Indian Community Block Grant-American Rescue Plan (ICDBG-ARP) grants to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas this week to prevent, prepare for and respond to the ongoing pandemic.

This is the third round of ICDBG-ARP awards, underscoring the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to delivering equitable COVID-19 relief to tribal communities.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe will use the grant funds to provide emergency rental assistance to families impacted by COVID-19.

These funds to tribes will help protect the health and safety of their communities, particularly low- and moderate-income individuals and families, by expanding access to safe housing, a suitable living environment and economic opportunities.

“It is imperative that we continue providing tribal communities with resources needed to protect the health and safety of their communities,” HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman said. “With the funding HUD is awarding, we remain diligent in continuing our mission to ensure that every person has the security of a healthy home and community. HUD will continue to strengthen partnerships with tribal communities to ensure that all communities receive equitable relief.”

The announcement follows HUD’s awarding of $74 million in ICDBG-ARP grants to 68 tribal communities in November and $52 million in ICDBG-ARP grants to 49 tribal communities in December. The American Rescue Plan included a total of $280 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant program. HUD will announce additional ICDBG-ARP awards on a rolling basis.

HUD and the Biden-Harris Administration have made delivering equitable COVID-19 relief to tribal communities a priority. The American Rescue Plan Act provides a total of $750 million dollars in HUD resources to tribes to support the continued fight against COVID-19. Earlier this year, HUD made a historic $450 million investment in Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG-ARP) to Indian tribes across the country to respond to COVID-19. The Department also invested $5 million in COVID-19 relief for Native Hawaiians.

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Clarification - LISD closes campuses to outside visitors after latest wave

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CovidSchool Graphic

Clarification - The original headline to this story was misleading. It should have read that LISD campuses were closed to outside visitors because of the latest Covid-19 wave. We regret any confusion this has caused.

From Enterprise Staff

“As of this morning, we are over the minimum COVID counts at all campuses. Therefore, all campuses are closed to outside visitors except for those with an educational purpose,” Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent E. Hawkins said in an email that was distributed to the parents or guardians of students in the district Tuesday.

“Our community is facing widespread COVID-19 Omicron positives and we will continue to follow the mitigation strategies in our Planning Forward document. We will continue to monitor the situation. If and when changes arise, we will notify all staff and parents through our regular district communication,” Hawkins said.

The Planning Forward document, which can be found on the district’s website at livingstonisd.com, was adopted July 19 and details the protocols the district has in place relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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DPS Offers Safety Tips Ahead of Wintry Weather

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Texas LogoAUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans that freezing rain, ice and snow can pose major hazards to drivers and pedestrians and is urging residents to be careful in such conditions.

DPS encourages everyone to take the appropriate safety precautions during wintry weather. This includes checking the battery, windshield wipers, tire pressure, tire treads and fluid levels in their vehicles, as well as ensuring door and trunk locks are properly lubricated to prevent them from freezing.

DPS offers the following tips to stay safe on the road this winter:

  • Monitor local weather broadcasts and check the latest weather conditions from the National Weather Service before you hit the road.
  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas or calling (800) 452-9292.
  • If you must drive in inclement weather, allow extra time to reach your destination. Share your travel plans with a friend or family member so someone knows the route you’re taking.
  • On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others, as you may need additional room to stop.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
  • Be aware that ice accumulates on bridges and overpasses before drivers may see it on roads, so approach them more slowly in winter weather.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stop light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

DPS also offers the following tips to help protect you and your home all season:

  • Use an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.
  • Sign up for calls or texts from your local emergency notification system.
  • Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls.
  • Make sure furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from walls and combustible materials, including furniture and bedding. Turn them off when you’re away or sleeping. Also ensure space heaters cannot tip over and there is no damage to the cord. 
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate a generator or other fuel-powered device inside a home, garage or other enclosed space. The odorless, colorless gas is deadly and is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. Sources include motor vehicle engines, generators and fuel-burning appliances or heating systems. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven.
  • Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk.
  • Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods, bottled water and medication.

Drivers are also encouraged to keep the following emergency supplies in their vehicles:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag;
  • Extra clothes, gloves and a hat;
  • Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries and phone charging cord;
  • First aid kit and pocket knife;
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water;
  • A bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires;
  • Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel; and
  • Jumper cables.

For more tips on vehicle safety, visit Ready.gov, and check out these winter driving safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Texans pay higher natural gas prices

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By Jan White
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For many Texans, the new year ushered in a wave of colder weather and, with it, the burden of increased pricing for heating sources like natural gas.

Data released in early December of 2021 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a rise in inflation, with consumer prices in November increasing 6.8% over the previous year. And the cost of utility gas service was 25.1% higher in November than it was one year ago. 

With the pandemic came increased instability in supply and demand for energy. As a result of supply lagging behind demand, consumers face energy prices up 33.3% over the 2020 levels. In 2021, residential natural gas prices spiked to levels not seen since 2008. 

Using the most recent full year of data available, an analysis by Commodity.com ranked the cost (dollars per million BTU) of average residential gas prices per state in 2020. From the most expensive to the least expensive, Texas ranked 21 out of the 50 states. On average, Texans paid $11.22 per million BTU, compared to $10.40 at the national level. Hawaii ranked #1 as most costly, paying $36.40, while Idaho paid the least, at $6.49 per million BTU.

In parts of the U.S. where natural gas prices are high, including the South and Northeast, natural gas consumption per capita tends to be much lower. It is anticipated that these current elevated prices could lead utilities and consumers to find more efficient and affordable energy sources, especially in those areas where natural gas is already expensive.

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Texas Primary Election deadlines approaching

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Vote GraphicFrom Enterprise Staff

There are a number of deadlines approaching to vote in the March 1 Texas Primary Election.

January 1 was the first day Texans could apply to vote by mail in the 2022 elections. Voters who are over 65 or disabled and wish to vote by mail must apply every year. Voters who will be absent from the county during early voting and Election Day must apply for each election in which they want to vote by mail. The application deadline is Feb. 18 for the Texas Primary Election.

Voters must use the new application for ballot by mail (ABBM) available at their county election office or from the Texas Secretary of State’s website votetexas.gov.  Alternatively, voters may print the vote by mail application in English or Spanish. Applications must be received (not postmarked) at your county election office by the application deadline which is Feb. 18.

This year there is a new eligibility requirement to be able to vote by mail in Texas. If one is expecting to give birth within three week before or after election day, they are available to vote by mail.

The last day to register to vote for the 2022 Texas Primary Elections is Jan. 31. There is a new voter registration application that eligible Texans may print, fill out and turn in to their county voter registrar to register to vote.

Voters who are already registered to vote in Texas may update their voter registration online if they moved within the state or changed their name. The voter will need a Texas driver’s license or personal identification card, their Social Security card and voter registration card VUID (voter unique identifier) number. Voters may find their4 VUID number on their voter registration card, by calling their county voter registrar or at votetexas.gov “Am I Registered?” by inputting their name, county and date of birth.

Another new change is that Texans who apply for a Texas driver’s license may apply to register to vote at the same time. When Texans update their driver’s license online, they may update their voter registration at the same time.

Early voting begins Feb. 14 and will conclude Feb. 25.

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