September 20, 2008
Power to the people

Here's the latest map (PDF), via the Chron, of CenterPoint's estimated restoration dates for various locations in Harris County. About half their area is still without power, and it looks like a nontrivial number of folks will still be without at the end of next week. That really sucks.

We had dinner last night at the Berryhill's in the Heights. I've never seen it so crowded - clearly, a lot of folks were looking for a reason to get out of the house. There must have been a half-dozen people with laptops, too. Guess they have WiFi available - I can't recall ever seeing it advertised there, but clearly, the word was out. Good to know for the future.

Good news for the Texans:

Reliant Park's president said today he has renewed optimism that the Texans may be able to play their home game Oct. 5 at Reliant Stadium with the stadium's damaged roof in the open position.

Shea Guinn, president of SMG-Reliant Park, said workmen plan to open the damaged roof in the next few days after they remove the remains of several roof panels damaged by Hurricane Ike's winds last week.

"We are completely focused 100 percent on doing everything we can for (the Texans) to play on the 5th," Guinn said. "I feel a lot better about things today than I did yesterday."

Guinn said repairs to the damaged roof panels can begin once the roof is in the open position. That being the case, he said, the Texans could play the rest of their home schedule at the stadium with the roof open.

"That is a possibility, and a lot of it will be based on what we find out over the next week," he said. "That is a very distinct possibility and likelihood that games could be played with the roof open."

Guinn said workers tested the roof mechanism Thursday night and are confident that the roof can be opened without problems.

"The engineering study has come back, and there is no damage to the roof from a structural or mechanical side," he said. "Things look good."

For what it's worth, driving past Reliant on Kirby as I did yesterday morning, you can't tell anything is wrong. I suppose they could just play with the roof open, as some commenters on the story suggested. That's probably a better option than playing at Minute Maid. But it's good to have choices. Stephanie has more.

As the Capitol Area Food Bank has been overwhelmed lately, so has the Houston Food Bank, as noted by Texans Against Hunger. Here's how you can help.

Had your fill of Ike photos yet? If not, then check out John's post for more. If so, well, then don't.

Good news: here's news from HISD about the schedule to reopen schools.

All non-school HISD facilities will reopen on Monday, September 22, and schools will be reopening in phases beginning Tuesday, September 23.

All principals and non-school employees will report back to work on Monday, September 22, with principals reporting either to their school (if it is scheduled to open on Tuesday, September 23) or to their regional office. Teachers and other school-based employees will report to work one work day before their school's opening date (see information in next paragraph and status list).

Each HISD school will reopen only after power and AC have been restored and critical repairs made. A list of all schools and their status is posted below. The list will be updated daily at noon and 5:00 p.m. The status of schools opening Tuesday, September 23, will be finalized at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, September 21. Those schools' teachers and staff will report to work on Monday, September 22. The status of schools that will open on Thursday, September 25, will be finalized at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 23. Those schools' teachers and staff will report to work on Wednesday, September 24. At this time, HISD is projecting that all schools will be open by Monday, September 29. The status of schools opening Monday will be finalized at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, September 26, and their teachers and staff will report for work on Friday. Employees at schools added to the list after Thursday, should report to work on Monday.

There's a list of schools there, which will be updated as things change, plus a hotline number to call for more info. The Chron also has a story on this. Enjoy the rest of your vacation while you still can, kids. (Parents, you may start celebrating now.)

Finally, via email from Council Member Adrian Garcia's office, here's some information about legal assistance and roof repairs for those affected by Ike, which I've put beneath the fold. Click on to read it.

Daily LegalLine for Those Affected by Storm Volunteer attorneys from the Houston Bar Association will answer legal questions from the public from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily, beginning Tuesday, September 16, 2008 through Wednesday, October 1, 2008. The public may call 713-759-1133 or toll free 1-866-959-1133, to speak to a volunteer attorney, who will assist in answering their legal questions related to the storm.

The HBA's regular LegalLine program will be held on Wednesday, October 1, with attorneys answering calls until 9:00 p.m.


The recent hurricanes have left many homeowners with damaged roofs. Repairs to these roofs can take time. In order to mitigate additional damage that could result from rain, homeowners can have plastic sheeting installed over the damaged area by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors, in a program provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The toll-free BLUE ROOF hotline number is 1-888-ROOF-BLU or 1-888-766-3258. - OPTION #4 is for TEXAS CASES

Here are some facts about Operation BLUE ROOF:

* To qualify for BLUE ROOF services, damage to the roof must be less than 50 percent and the area to be covered must be structurally sound for a crew to work on.
* In order to have plastic sheeting placed on their roofs, homeowners must complete a right of entry form to allow government and contractor employees on their property. Right of Entry (ROE) centers for affected counties are manned by Corps of Engineers employees. For the center location in your county call toll free 1-888-766-3258.
* The Corps is covering roofs in the hardest hit counties first. Be patient. The Corps will respond to every person who has completed a ROE as rapidly as possible.
* Homeowners who had plastic sheeting damaged or blown off during Hurricane Jeanne must complete a new ROE form. The damaged or missing plastic sheeting will be reinstalled as rapidly as possible.
* In some instances, there may be a slowdown in installing plastic sheeting because of a national shortage.
* Homeowners can also cover their roof with free tarps provided by FEMA and issued through their local governments. Residents need to monitor the media for information on where to pick up the tarps.
* The plastic covering and the tarps are temporary fixes designed to provide protection from the elements until the homeowner can make permanent repairs with a qualified professional.

The BLUE ROOF program is provided by FEMA through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in all counties that have been declared by FEMA for the Individual Assistance program.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 20, 2008 to Hurricane Katrina

Charles, welcome back. We have power at our house in the Woodland Heights, on the corner of Bayland & Julian, where we're offering free ice water, coffee, electricity for charging batteries, and a free wi-fi connection. Anyone who reads this, please pass the word along to your friends or neighbors in the area who might need a break. There's a sign in front of our house and on the porch -- you can't miss it.

Posted by: Jeff N. on September 20, 2008 10:55 AM
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