The New I-10 Access Ramp From 290 Is a Thing of Beauty and Wonder

Categories: Traffic

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Jef With One F
Having lived the last three years in Jersey Village I have been mostly at the mercy of 290 when it comes to getting into town. It's either that or coming around on the tollway and booking it inbound on I-10. Both are often equally annoying, although the Beltway less so since they started the construction to expand 290 over the last year.

So for months I have been stuck in a car with no air conditioning moving at the slow torture of random freeway closures, narrowed lanes, and the constant accidents and endless rubbernecking that seem to plague the Northwest Freeway. That last one hasn't gotten any better now that acceleration lanes are often non-existent, and the same drivers who simply must creep to 20mph in order to gawk at a truck with a flat tire seem to find it against their honor to move over and let those trying to join the derby on the road.

Until recently that is.

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10 Things You Say That Make You a Houstonian

Categories: Houston 101

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Photo by Jeff Balke
Multiple indoor stadiums? Damn right.
Colloquialisms are part of all regional cultures. When someone in New York asks if you want to go half on a pie, they don't mean apple. But, in many places, there are words and phrases we use that help define us as denizens (and often natives) of that specific location. Houston most certainly qualifies. Some of them are rather odd words we have adopted while others are phrases too often repeated for all the wrong reasons.

Why we use them is self-evident to anyone who has lived here long enough to adopt our unique language. If you haven't been here long, consider this a primer for how we Houstonians talk and, perhaps, a glossary of sorts for the next time you want to go local.

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Riverside Hospital CEO Convicted of Fraud

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Image from Google Street View

Earnest Gibson III, Riverside's General Hospital's CEO of more than 30 years, was convicted Monday of conspiring to buy and sell patients in a Medicare and Medicaid scam that siphoned $158 million from government coffers.

Also convicted and awaiting sentencing are his son Earnest Gibson IV, Riverside auditor Regina Askew and Robert Crane, a shuttle driver. Federal prosecutors stated in trial that Crane admitted to an investigating officer he was in the business of referring clients to Riverside's drug and mental health treatment program in return for cash, and then Askew would furnish the paperwork to cover up any wrongdoing. Investigators said inconsistencies in the hospital's books proved that so-called hourly marketers were really headhunters paid a flat rate for every patient they enrolled at Riverside.

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Cougars Defeat Temple, But Does It Count if No One's There to See It?

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Does a win really count if there's no one there to see it?
The Houston Cougars (4-3) defeated the Temple Owls (4-2) 31-10 on Friday night. The game wasn't as close as the final score indicates, as the Cougar defense kept Temple bottled up for most of the night. The game was a bit of a yawner as the Cougars no longer offer up the high-flying Air Raid offense, instead relying on the running game, short passes, improvisations of new QB Greg Ward, Jr, and a stifling defense that forces turnovers at ease.

The game was also a yawner because the alleged "crowd" was pretty quiet. Alleged crowd because the announced attendance was 21,471 for a stadium that holds 40,000. And looking out over TDECU Stadium Friday night, it appeared that 21,471 number was a bit inflated; there's just no way the stadium was half-full.

"I want to recognize our fans and our students, " head coach Tony Levine said after the game. "I thought it was a terrific turnout tonight; the students have really made a difference, especially on that side of the field. It was loud there tonight and I really appreciate, eight o'clock kick-off, the game isn't going to end till eleven-thirty, twelve o'clock at night on a Friday evening. Our alumni, our fan base, our students, getting off work and coming out and supporting us, I thought it was tremendous."

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Houston, We Have Other Problems

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Photo by Ed Schipul

We all know the story by now: the City of Houston passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which would crack down on LGBT discrimination across the city, and then a group of Christians then sued the city. Last week, news broke that the city then subpoenaed pastors that, while vehemently critical of the ordinance, aren't parties to the current lawsuit against the city.

And then, Twitter exploded.

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The 5 Least Charitable ZIP Codes in Houston

Categories: Houston 101

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy's interactive map points out where the givers are in Houston.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published a report on charitable giving throughout the U.S. culled from Census information. The report noted that charitable giving among wealthier Americans is down and that the most poor citizens give a larger percentage of their income to charity than the richest. But what about Houston?

Fortunately, the organization put together an interactive map that divided up areas by ZIP code, and we were able to see just where people gave and where they did not.

For the purposes of this list, we excluded neighborhoods outside the the boundaries of the city limits with one exception, because even though it is its own entity, it is still inside the Loop. Areas like Sugar Land, for example, were also on the short list, but they were well outside the city limits and the central portions of Houston. This list uses ranks ZIP codes based on the organizations "giving ratio," which is calculated by taking the percentage of charitable donations from the ZIP code's adjusted gross income.

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HERO's Arch-Nemesis, the Alliance Defending Freedom

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Photo by Aaron Reiss
It's no coincidence that the City of Houston, Mayor Annise Parker, City Attorney David Feldman and company asked for any communication between the five local pastors and Alliance Defending Freedom (other parts of the subpoena were likely ill-advised, but that's neither here nor there) when they sent out that controversial subpoena that has been getting so much attention. After all, the ADF is a religious right organization dedicated to opposing LGBT rights the way the rest of us are dedicated to breathing and love of the Beatles, so if ADF lawyers have been advising local pastors on how to repeal HERO, that would certainly be worth knowing.

But what exactly is the ADF? The organization, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, was created in 1994 by group of high-profile activists from the religious right, including including James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.

The group operates with a budget of more than $30 million, an army of more than 2,000 lawyers who adhere to ADF principles, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. They specialize in legal work where they believe that religious freedom is being violated, though of course "religious freedom" only entails the views of those who agree with ADF. Basically these people see themselves as the anti-ACLU, a group that they contend has been working to promote "an anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda on the Body of Christ in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and elsewhere," according to the ADF website.

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AG Goes After "Celebrity Nutritionist" Lindsey Duncan

Categories: Courts

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This man has traveled the world "in search of superfruits." (Hey, his website says it, not us.)
The Texas Attorney General's Office is suing a dude it says isn't a doctor, but who plays one on TV -- and makes a bundle doing so.

Filed last week, the suit accuses Austin-based Robert Lindsey Duncan, a.k.a. Dr. Lindsey Duncan, of inflating his credentials in order to hawk nutritional supplements on shows like The View and Dr. Oz. Duncan calls himself a "naturopathic doctor," but the state does not recognize such a degree, according to the suit.

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College Football, Week 8: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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A few weeks ago, we had maybe the most thrilling college football weekend of the last ten years (possibly since the 2005 weekend that included, among other fantastic finishes, the "Bush Push" game between USC and Notre Dame). It was twelve hours of dramatic endings and pinball scoring stats, everything that's great about this time of the year and the age we live in (multiple games on television, computer streaming, social media).

The great thing about college football, though, is that you don't need great finishes for the sport to be compelling. This past Saturday we had plenty of buildup to marquee match ups and potential career altering twists for some head coaches. However, in the end, there were a lot more blowouts and popcorn farts on Saturday than there were Instant Classics.

And yet, even from the ashes of numerous boring thrashings, we get storylines. Sure, we love the hits, the physicality, the game day pomp and circumstance of a football Saturday (or Sunday), but no other sport has the episodic advantage and storyline arc that college and pro football have.

The games are great, but now they're over, and now we essentially have six days to pore over what it all means. THAT'S AWESOME. So let's commence poring with the winners and losers from this weekend's college football action...

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Greg Abbott Held a Twitter Townhall, and It Was Hilarious

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In his continued quest to win hearts and minds and, you know, the governor's seat, state Attorney General Greg Abbott held a Twitter town hall on Friday. Yes, for one brief, shining moment, Abbott (or someone that does a pretty good Abbott-on-social-media impression) was on the Twitter and people could ask him stuff. There was even a hashtag, #AskAbbott.

The questions lobbed at Abbott ranged from the pointy to the pointless-but-oh-so-hilarious, so we rounded up some of our favorites.

On Abbott's a tort-reformer yet was awarded $10 million after he sued because of that tree that fell on him in River Oaks and left him wheelchair-bound (recently mentioned by opponent state Sen. Wendy Davis in that controversial ad):


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