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How to help: Houston-area organizations that need volunteers

Volunteers are needed to assist in building affordable housing alongside Habitat’s construction staff. The build schedule is 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older to work on the build site, and must be at least 18 years of age to use power tools and work on roofs. Building experience in not necessary; the staff …

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Second round of Harvey grants paid out to aid groups

Roughly a month after the first grants from the region’s main Hurricane Harvey recovery fund were disbursed to area nonprofits aiding flood victims, city and county leaders announced a second round of grant awards Wednesday. The Greater Houston Community Foundation said $28.9 million in grants were distributed Wednesday to 90 nonprofits; an initial $7.5 million round of grants was disbursed …

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Houston’s next billion-dollar fiscal challenge: retirees’ health care

With their approval of a billion-dollar bond referendum this month, Houston voters secured Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark pension reform plan and erased $2.9 billion in liabilities from the city’s books, beginning to fill an ever-deepening hole that threatened to undermine services. Pensions, however, are not the only expensive long-term promise Houston has made to its workers. Taxpayers also face a …

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Civic-minded leader answered when Bayou City beckoned

Keith Downey never expected to play a jailhouse Santa. But then last year he volunteered to hand out Christmas toys at the county jail – and there was no Santa in sight. Always willing to lend a helping hand, Downey suited up. “I didn’t know I could say ‘Ho Ho Ho’ so many times,” he said with a smile. Whether …

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Houston proves to be a most generous city

Houstonians believe they live in an exceptionally generous city. It turns out they’re right, and the numbers prove it. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog organization that evaluates charities, has rated Houston as the most generous metropolitan area in the U.S. in 2016 and 2015. Houston slipped to No. 2 in Charity Navigator’s most recent ratings, based on the up-to-date tax …

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Flooding puts plants at Bayou Bend in survival mode

“When plants are stressed, they’ll bloom to try to make seed in case they die,” he said. “If you have things blooming out of season, that’s not a good thing. It’s a sure sign of stress, that something’s wrong. The plant is sensing a need to survive.” Buffalo Bayou rose so high out of its banks during the storm, it …

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