[Video] The Ghost Bikes of Houston

Categories: Houston 101

With Critical Mass launching off tonight at Market Square Park downtown, tensions are bound to be high between motorists and cyclists as bike enthusiasts swarm the streets. The controversial event, whose participants have been nicknamed "Critical Massholes," has a reputation for holding up after-work Friday traffic, corking through red lights and straight up drunken brawls. Some cyclists say Critical Mass gives them a bad name -- others argue biking needs to gain visibility on Houston's sometimes bike-hostile roads and the monthly event is one way to forcibly take back the street. Earlier this year, the Houston Police Department offered Critical Mass participants an escort for a fee... but cyclists elected to chance it free. Recently, the police have been keeping watch anyway.

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Here's What You Can Do With That Extra Hour This Weekend

Categories: Whatever

Hey, guys. Guess what? This weekend is the end of daylight savings time.

Yep, it's time to change your clock, and it's not even the sucky time change where everything takes place earlier, either.

On November 2, the clocks around the country will "Fall Back" at 2 a.m., none of that sleep-stealing "Spring Forward" crap, which means you get an extra hour to do whatever it is you silly kids do past 2 a.m.

We're here to help you find your way into trouble, even if we'll be passed out on the couch with Investigation Discovery blaring in the background. That's why we've made it a point to dig around and find out just what you can do with your extra hour, other than nap.

Here are your options. At 2 a.m., you'll gain an extra hour of:

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Mom Sentenced for Stowing Gun in Boy's Backpack Because He Was Mean To Her Kids

Categories: Courts, Crime

Heather Hodges
A Conroe mom who attempted to get her boyfriend's middle school son in trouble at school by stowing a gun in his backpack has been sentenced to prison for the crime.

A judge sentenced 28-year-old Heather Hodges Thursday to three years in prison following her guilty plea on charges of unlawful carrying of a weapon on restricted premises. Hodges was arrested and charged in 2012 after planting a gun in the 13-year-old boy's backpack and then calling the school to get him caught.

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Ex-Fire Union President Erased His Computer Weeks Before He Quit

flickr/Christopher Ebdon

The tumultuous back-and-forth between the local fire union and the Parker administration was punctuated last month by the abrupt resignation of Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association president Bryan Sky-Eagle, just 11 months into a three-year term.

Discord within the ranks over Sky-Eagle steering the union in some very unpopular directions -- like suing the union's umbrella group, the International Association of Fire Fighters, or negotiating a contract with the city that a whopping 93 percent of fire fighters flatly rejected -- had boiled over into violent threats. In a September 1 letter to his members, Sky-Eagle quit citing "venomous actions, mental and physical, taken against me by those who call themselves my 'brothers.'"

Sky-Eagle said he received "threats of, and calls for, violence against me, my wife and my children" via email and Facebook.

While the city's Office of Inspector General is investigating those threats, union members are trying to figure out something else about their former president's resignation: Why did Sky-Eagle erase all data on his union computer weeks before he quit?

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Rice Baskeball's Rejuvenated and Ready to Start Anew

The Rice Owls want you to embrace the uncomfortable.
Mike Rhoades wants his players to embrace the unexpected. He wants them to rise to the challenge. That's how things worked at his former stop, Virginia Commonwealth, where he was assistant coach to Shaka Smart. And now that Rhoades is the man in charge of Rice Owls basketball, he's demanding the same thing.

The practices are faster. The style of play uptempo. The workouts are intense (including Navy Seal training at the start of the school year). The players are working to the point of endurance and past it. The Owls of the past several years have been a team that wilted under player defections and controversy. The atmosphere was poisoned, the morale was low. But Rhoades is seeking to change that attitude, to sweep it away with a new approach to the game.

"I just wanted to 'up' everything," he said on Tuesday. "Their approach, their time, their effort. We want to get to a point where we make our guys very quickly uncomfortable, that they understand that that's where you're going to be a lot, so you might as well get comfortable being uncomfortable."

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Houston's Creepiest Unsolved Murder Mysteries

Facebook/The Ice Box Murders
There's nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned murder mystery, and when it comes to creepy cold cases, Houston has plenty of 'em to choose from.

From the notorious I-45 "Killing Fields" to the grisly, gut-churning "Ice Box Murders," the Bayou City has been home to some seriously disturbing, and unsolved, murder mysteries.

But even with the vaults full of cold case files, there are five open murder cases, which span decades of Houston history, that we just can't seem to shake from our memories.

These are Houston's five most unsettling -- and unsolved -- murder mysteries. Time to sleep with the lights on, folks.

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Lyft Threatens to Leave Houston, Because $62 Is Just Way Too Steep to Make Sure Its Drivers Aren't Criminals

Alfredo Mendez
Your commute's about to get a little less mustache-y.

Citing "expensive" new citywide regulations that mandate drug testing, fingerprinting and background checks for drivers, Lyft, one of the two app-based companies operating in Houston, says it would rather close up shop than comply.

The city's new requirements, set to take effect November 4, will require Houston applicants to use a state fingerprint-based background check company, rather than the online background check system that Lyft currently uses. Drivers must also submit to a warrant check, be drug-tested and give the city their personal information.

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

0-6 last week. Not much else needs to be said.

It was a trip down memory lane, as last weekend I reprised memories of 2013, a season in which I was historically awful at picking winners of football games against the spread. Now I'm totally freaked out, to where I look at the board and see literally no games I like, mainly because I think whatever I think is wrong.

And yet I'm not smart enough to go opposite my gut. Hopefully, all of you are. Let's get to the picks, but first a shout-out to Texans fan Natalie for the best football-related Halloween costume....

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First College Football Playoff Ranking Is Out, What Does It Mean?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for kylefieldflickr.jpg

Since their inception however many decades ago, college football rankings have been inherently flawed. They've been constrained by everything from the "watch habits" of their constituency to their early-season release leading to uninformed narratives.

We always thought to ourselves, "Man, wouldn't it be nice to have a college football poll that started at least halfway through the season and had a constituency that was mandated to watch at least some of the games?"

Not coincidentally, we've also been clamoring for a college football playoff for decades as well.

Well, guess what? NOW WE HAVE BOTH!

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Attorney Says Judge Denise Collins Unlawfully Detained Her

Categories: Courts

Courtesy Cheryl Irvin
"OK everyone, say 'unlawful imprisonment'!" A gaggle of attorneys conferred with the detained Irvin (seated) in September.
A Houston criminal defense lawyer says she's filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct alleging that Judge Denise Collins unlawfully detained her as she tried to speak with her client.

Cheryl Irvin says Collins shouted at her after she walked into the 208th District Court to speak with a client who was in the inmate holding area that's accessible from the courtroom. In a statement, Irvin alleges that Collins ordered her "in a [condescending] tone and loud voice" to speak with lawyers representing Irvin's client's co-defendants before speaking with her client.

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