Embarrassing Emails Filed in Legal Battle Between Galveston County Commissioners and Judges

Categories: Courts, Whatever

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry sure knows how to spice up dull legal dispute over the hiring and firing of court staff. Mix in some backroom sniping, a bit of rumor-mongering, and just a hint of public sex and you've got the awkward mess that's now before the state's First Court of Appeals.

At issue in the case that's pitted Henry and Galveston County commissioners against local district court judges is Henry's July firing of Bonita "Bonnie" Quiroga as director of the county's Justice Administration Department, a title she'd held for more than a decade. The local judges, already peeved with commissioners for supposedly meddling with their budget, were furious about the firing. In an order blocking Quiroga's termination in September, Administrative Judge Lonnie Cox wrote, "The authority to appoint and terminate court personnel lies with the courts, not the county judge nor the commissioners court."

So the county appealed to the First Court last month, asking that Cox's order barring commissioners from firing or replacing Quiroga be overturned. And late last month Henry filed an affidavit in the case that includes a number of email exchanges that, as far as Henry's concerned, prove Quiroga reported to commissioners court and not local judges. (H/T to local attorney Greg Enos, who first noted the emails in his awesomely-titled newsletter "The Mongoose" earlier this month.) "The tone and content of Ms. Quiroga's communications to me about the judges are wholly inconsistent with a supervisory relationship between them," Henry wrote in the affidavit.

That's quite an understatement. Notwithstanding that Quiroga regularly wrote to Henry with all the tact and professionalism of a tween slumber party gossip circle, the emails Henry filed in court show that, at the very least, Quiroga had quite the strained, unhealthy relationship with the very judges who are now fighting to save her job.

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North Houston Is Getting Its Very Own DPS Mega-Center Because Standing in Line Sucks

Google Maps

We're pretty sure there has never not been a line at the Houston DPS offices. All of them.

Well, that may change come summer 2015, when the massive new Houston-North Mega Center opens at Dewalt Street and Veterans Memorial on the city's north side. The project, announced last week, will be the fourth mega-center for the Houston metro area, which already has mega-locations on Gessner in Houston as well as out in Richmond/Rosenberg and Spring.

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A New Baby Okapi Was Born at the Houston Zoo, and It Wants to Kill Us All With Cuteness

Categories: Whatever

Photos courtesy of the Houston Zoo/Stephanie Adams

In case you needed an absolute overdose of sugary cuteness today, may we present to you this baby okapi, the Houston Zoo's newest resident.

This as-yet-unnamed baby boy was born at the Houston Zoo November 6, and weighed in at about 40 pounds. He's the first okapi, or "forest giraffe," to be successfully born at the Houston Zoo, according to zoo officials.

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A Houston Man Disappears in Gambia, and Officials Don't Seem to Care

Categories: Whatever

Courtesy Juka Ceesay
Houstonian Alhagie Ceesay and his friend Ebou Jobe disappeared in Gambia in June 2013.
For much of the past year and a half, Juka Ceesay has wondered if her brother was alive or dead.

Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, a 39-year-old father of two, and his friend went to their native Gambia in May 2013 to look into investing in a cashew exporting business. A month later, both men had disappeared, and his family fears they were captured by government officials at the behest of the west African country's dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who has a rather lax approach to basic human rights.

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HPD Says Animals Behind Timbergrove Cat Deaths, Finally Returns Remains to Grieving Owners

Categories: Whatever

Courtesy Chris and Kimberly Elliot
RIP, Moe.
In the last five years, roughly 25 cats in the Timbergrove/Lazybrook neighborhoods have been ripped to pieces and their remains left on people's lawns. Many of these cats were people's pets.

Some in the neighborhood believed a person (or persons) were responsible, and although the Houston Police Department was largely uninterested in residents' complaints, at least one investigator believed the human attacker angle enough to question the parents of a creepy dude being held in Harris County Jail for an unrelated crime. That was in 2013.

Now, after withholding documents and not releasing the remains of one couple's beloved cat, HPD is attributing all of the cat killings to animal attacks.

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City Gets $300,000 for Illegally Removed Oak Trees on Kirby


Remember those massive oak trees that were illegally removed in front of the Wendy's off Kirby a few weeks ago? You know, the ones that triggered a massive uproar after they were chopped down in the middle of the night illegally.

Well, the City of Houston is about to get those dolla, dolla bills, y'all. The issue has already been settled, and to the tune of a $300,000 settlement, no less.

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Pat Robertson Says God Has This Creepy, Violent Message for Houston

Categories: Religion, Whatever

Following the City of Houston's ill-advised move to subpoena a bunch of local pastors, we were treated to a smorgasbord of outrage. On one end of the spectrum, the Chron's more mild-mannered editorial board called the subpoenas "Orwellian." Glenn Beck, meanwhile, rage-wept that the situation was "more dangerous to the Republic of Texas than Ebola."

Televangelist Pat Robertson -- who thinks an earthquake ravaged Haiti because of a pact with the devil (for real) -- first called local proponents of LGBT rights "terrorists." But even last week's announcement from Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman that they would drop the controversial subpoenas wasn't enough to calm Robertson, who followed up with his own unhinged "message" for Houston that, naturally, involves a deadly tale of biblical gang rape.

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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 saving 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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Lotto Shuts Down 'Fun 5' Game Because People Got Upset When They Found Out They Lost

Fun 5 tickets are still floating around Houston...and we found some.
A batch of Texas Lotto scratch-offs have become a major source of contention for frustrated lotto players, who say the language on Fun 5 is misleading. And for that confusion, they say they're owed millions.

The controversy revolving around Fun 5 is limited to one specific game on the card -- Game 5 -- which gives players the following instructions for identifying a winning ticket:

Reveal three "5" symbols in any one row, column or diagonal, win PRIZE in PRIZE box. Reveal a Money Bag symbol in the 5X BOX, win 5 times that PRIZE.

Most people would think these two-sentence instructions are pretty darn simple and should be interpreted as scratch Game 5, reveal three fives in a row and win a prize. Scratch Game 5, reveal three fives in a row and a money bag, and well, you're rolling in five times the cash.

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Hearst Drops an Ebola Joke

Categories: Whatever

Check out this gut-buster from the San Antonio Express-News

For the past couple weeks, even we've been like, you know what, maybe let's not joke about Ebola just yet...

Apparently Hearst feels differently.